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How to Annotate

At Footnote, whenever you view a photo or document image, you have the option of adding annotations to it. To annotate means to provide additional information, such as a clarification, on a part of a document or photo. You may add as many annotations as you want on a document or image. Examples of annotations are for names of persons, places, dates, or even events in history. Whenever you make an annotation, your username appears, so members know it was you who wrote it.

What does an annotation look like?

Whenever you do a search, and you select an image, you are directed to the Footnote Viewer. If your browser is now pointed at the Footnote Viewer, you will find annotations on the photo appearing as yellow boxes. As you mouse over a yellow box or annotation, you will read text as contributed by a member of Footnote. It will indicate a name, a place, date, or event.

Note that there can be more than one annotation per photo and a member can make several annotations in a photo. The total number of annotations in a photo may be seen on the right hand side "About this Document" frame of the Footnote Viewer page, under the tab "Annotations." You may click on the tab to view a listing of the annotations and the names of Footnote members who contributed them. The number of annotations can also be seen on the Viewer Toolbar, above the image you are viewing.

How do you make your own annotation?

It is not that difficult to share a little additional data on a document or photo. In most cases, according to a majority of Footnote members, an annotation can be helpful in clarifying illegible handwritings or those texts in images that can not be sharpened or made more visible using photo editing software.

First, to be able to make annotations on whatever image or document you like, you need to be logged in. After performing an image search, and selecting a file to view, you will open the Footnote Viewer showing the corresponding photo you selected.

On the viewer toolbar, located at the top of the page, click on the button that says "Annotate." A yellow box will appear, and you may drag and resize it on top of the text that you want to annotate. After this, select the type of annotation you are to make, may it be a person, place, event, or date. Type in the text box your annotation, and click on "Save" to implement the changes.

To make another annotation, click on the button on the viewer toolbar again. On the "About this Document" frame, you will notice that your annotation has already been added.

How useful are annotations at Footnote?

Many historical documents that are stored by the National Archives as well as added by members of Footnote may contain handwritten texts that are difficult to read. In a way, writing an annotation verifies historical data, as well as makes it easier for users to make a search on the huge database of Footnote.

Aside from clarifying pertinent data and extending information over more members on Footnote, annotations also create new connections among the members of the Footnote community. This is because the annotations you provide shows a small image of your profile photo, as well as a link with your username; users can easily click on the profile photo to view your profile.

What makes this an ingenious tool is that users who are reading your annotation may contact you and discuss with you the document you have viewed. This is an excellent means of expanding your networks, as well as meeting other members on Footnote who share specific interests with you on a certain topic in American history. If you find someone who made an annotation to an Abraham Lincoln letter, you may want to contact him to find out how he got the info. There are endless connections that can be made with the help of the annotation feature at Footnote.

Recall the tutorial on Managing Your Profile. When you view your profile page, you can also find how many annotations you have made on Footnote so far. When you make your profile viewable to the public, other Footnote members will also find a listing of annotations you have made.