Publication details

Anotační praktiky vědců: analýza kognitivní práce

Title in English Annotation Practices of Scholars: Analysis of Cognitive Work


Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source ProInflow
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords human – text interaction; annotation practices; annotation; cognitive work analysis; comparative studies of domains
Description Purpose Annotation practices of scholars represent one of the basic elements of research work across scientific disciplines. Compared to the practices of reading and writing texts, it is very little explored. The study is based on the formative paradigm of the HCI design and the social-cognitive paradigm of information behavior. In our research study, we present the results of examining annotation practices of scholars working with printed scientific texts. Our research focuses on human-text interaction in order to describe the cognitive work of scholars in annotating and to identify its limitations. A total of 20 scholars participated in the research. They come from the fields of humanities, social sciences and natural sciences (linguistics, psychology, geography) as well as interdisciplinary research with varying degrees of expertise – novices (doctoral students), advanced (post-graduate researchers), experts (associate professors and professors). Cognitive work was analysed during annotating scientific papers, monographs, and diploma theses. Design/methodology/approach The research was carried out using the method of analysis of cognitive work. The design of the research was natural – researchers were reading texts of their own choice in their natural environment with the task of creating annotations for their further work. They were reading each type of text for 15 minutes. During the interaction with the text, they were speaking aloud about their activity. The acquired audio and video recordings were processed using verbal protocol analysis and abstraction hierarchy analysis. Results In total, 829 basic annotation elements, corresponding to a simple act of making an annotation, were analysed using an abstraction hierarchy. A typology of annotations with 13 categories has been created based on the type and place of interaction with the text. The analysis of annotation practices has revealed patterns of co-occurrence of annotation elements, some of which occur regularly together in one combination. Annotation acts occur either in isolation or form sets of consecutive activities as traces of deepening understanding of the text. In addition to annotation acts and activities, there are also annotation practices known as meta-annotations, which are notes on already created annotations, and macro-annotations, which organise annotations across the text and serve an indicative function in the text. The obtained results of cognitive work in annotating indicate a topological tension between cognitive functions and tools used for making notes; this has impact on the design of tools for reading and taking notes on electronic scientific texts. Originality/value The paper provides insight into the annotation practices of scholars during their interaction with scientific texts based on empirical research. The findings can be used for designing annotation tools for electronic texts. The design of the annotation editor should prevent disruption of cognitive processes and the concentration of scholars due to refocusing their attention from the text to the selection of the annotation tool in order to perform the annotation act. Such a design will ensure direct human interaction with the text instead of interacting with the annotation editor.
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