The structure of scientific annotation practices
|Fakulta / Pracoviště MU|
Annotation is a practice widespread among scientists of all disciplines and as such belongs to the so-called scholarly primitives. Despite its indisputable importance, little attention is paid to annotation practices in the studies of information behavior of (not only) scientists. Knowledge of annotation practices is crucial in the design of e-books whose usability still lags behind that of traditional paper books. In the presented research paper we analyze annotation practices of twenty scientists working with paper resources, namely with monographs, articles and diploma theses. The purpose of the analysis was to provide programmers with the groundwork for designing the web format of eBook.
The research is paradigmatically based on the framework of information ecology, which allows the interaction of scientists with texts in a working environment to be captured. Specifically, the method of Cognitive work analysis was used. In this paper we cover one particular type of Cognitive work analysis, Work domain analysis, using the Abstraction decomposition space as a visualization tool. Scientists from selected fields (linguistics, psychology, geography and interdisciplinary research) were recruited at two universities (Masaryk University and Palacký University). During the work of the scientists with the documents, a video recording were made, capturing both the scientists' interaction with the text and the scientists' thought processes based on the talking aloud technique. Verbal comments and interactions of scientists with texts and work environment are represented in abstraction decomposition space.
Findings and originality
Annotations in documents are categorized according to C. C. Marshall typology (Marshall 2010). Newly identified types of annotations further expand this typology. Patterns obtained by decomposing each type of notes to five levels of abstraction are analyzed. The results obtained indicate a topological tension between cognitive functions and note-taking tools. Underestimating the importance of space, haptics and perception in electronic texts, which are typical for human-printed text interaction, leads to the disembodied design of the reading software interface. Disembodied design emphasizes deep cognitive control instead of surface control, which has a negative impact on the effectiveness of cognitive work and the usefulness of eBooks. Abstraction decomposition space and the structure of annotation practices is used for the design of the web-based e-book interface.