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Old 01-30-2010, 07:26 AM   #1
GlenBarrington
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What do you annotate and why?

In a couple of other threads regarding various new devices, several people seem to indicate they annotate virtually everything they read, including recreational reading.

This really surprised me. I can understand students and research types needing annotation. Maybe radio talk show hosts as well. But the rest of us? What do you annotate, and why.

I'm not trying to be insulting, argumentative, or demeaning. Just curious.
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Old 01-30-2010, 07:31 AM   #2
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Personally I use annotation to mark errors in the eBooks which I've created, as I read them.
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:09 AM   #3
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I mark words or phrases that I intend to look up later for clarification. The meaning of words can change over time and sometimes a sentence doesn't make much sense unless you know the specific definition intended by the author.
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:13 AM   #4
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That's very true. Eg, when I first started reading Victorian novels, I was a little surprised to find that people were "making love" all over the place. It took me a while to realise that, at that time, the phrase meant trying to attract a person of the opposite sex, and not its modern meaning .
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:15 AM   #5
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Personally I use annotation to mark errors in the eBooks which I've created, as I read them.
That's where I use annotations as well...
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:26 AM   #6
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In non-fictional works, sometimes I underline passages in order to later quote them in relevant discussions, and sometimes I will underline passages simply because I feel they make an important point or contain information someone else could be interested in. Often I will annotate a passage to add my own thoughts upon the subject under discussion, even if it's just to note my agreement or disagreement with the author's position.

In fictional works, I will often find a turn of phrase that I particularly like and will copy it simply as a way of encouraging myself to discover similar fascinating adornments for my way of speaking.

When I come across an unfamiliar word I'll look it up in the Kindle's dictionary and copy it as a way of building my vocabulary.

But the biggest reason by far, whether the book is fiction or non-fiction, for underlining and notation is as an aid to memory.

Prior to owning an e-reader, I would sometimes find myself the object of a bit of good-natured ribbing over my habit of constantly high-lighting and notating everything I read. Two of the comments I heard most ran along the lines of, "Tom, you DO know that's not a coloring book, don't you?" and "Tom can't read without a pen in his hand!"

I wouldn't consider buying a reader that didn't have a keyboard or virtual keyboard.

Last edited by WT Sharpe; 01-30-2010 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 01-30-2010, 09:30 AM   #7
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Thanks, this is interesting! And informative.

I'm comforted to know that this isn't a forum of people looking for a message from God hidden in the latest James Patterson novel!
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:24 AM   #8
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I annotate nothing, but I'd also like to tack on the weird refusal (I've seen many state here) to buy an ebook reader that doesn't include a dictionary. Yet I doubt those same people refuse to buy paper books that don't have a full dictionary stapled to the back cover. (And I don't sit around with a dictionary at hand while reading Just In Case.)
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Old 01-30-2010, 11:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlenBarrington View Post
Thanks, this is interesting! And informative.

I'm comforted to know that this isn't a forum of people looking for a message from God hidden in the latest James Patterson novel!
You mean there's not one in there? Drat!

Maybe I was a student too long, but I find it helpful and satisfying to make notes about what I read - otherwise I feel like I'm likely to miss something important or forget it all soon after I've read it. If I'm reading a pbook, I mark unknown or unusual words or phrases, ideas that the author or character had (or that came to my mind while reading) that I want to think about later, similarities or differences from other things I've read either in this book or elsewhere, or just anything I want to remember later. I don't do this with every book. For many, I hardly make a mark while for many others, I'm junking up every page. It makes little difference whether it's fiction or nonfiction. I picked Jacob Bronowski's The Ascent of Man off my shelf for the first time in about 35 years and found three or four marks per page throughout the book plus several loose pages of thoughts that I stuck in it. I had several nice evenings rereading both the book and all my annotations. Muriel Burberry's The Elegance of the Hedgehog is a recent fictional work that I have also junked up a lot and expect to enjoy rereading soon with all my notes and all the other books I'll end up looking at as I reflect on all those thoughts.

With my Sony, I'm crippled and have to make notes on a pad that I usually keep with the Reader. I have no way to attach those notes to the ebook and this annoys me a lot. I hope to fix that with my next ebook reader.
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Old 01-30-2010, 12:39 PM   #10
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Thanks, this is interesting! And informative.

I'm comforted to know that this isn't a forum of people looking for a message from God hidden in the latest James Patterson novel!
That's absurd. Everyone knows God's messages are hidden in works by Herman Melville.
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Old 01-30-2010, 12:47 PM   #11
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Well Yeah, MELVILLE. . .

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That's absurd. Everyone knows God's messages are hidden in works by Herman Melville.
Dead Sea Scrolls~Moby Dick, I mean the linkage is there. But you can never tell about the really crazy ones who think "Beach House" is significant.
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Old 01-30-2010, 12:49 PM   #12
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I annotate nothing, but I'd also like to tack on the weird refusal (I've seen many state here) to buy an ebook reader that doesn't include a dictionary. Yet I doubt those same people refuse to buy paper books that don't have a full dictionary stapled to the back cover. (And I don't sit around with a dictionary at hand while reading Just In Case.)
While I will buy readers without a dictionary, ever since I started reading on electronic devices I've had a dictionary ready. And I started to make more use of it too. Right now, when I find a word that I don't understand on my Mini, I try to look it up on my JE-100 or PDA.
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Old 01-30-2010, 09:26 PM   #13
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I annotate nothing, but I'd also like to tack on the weird refusal (I've seen many state here) to buy an ebook reader that doesn't include a dictionary. Yet I doubt those same people refuse to buy paper books that don't have a full dictionary stapled to the back cover. (And I don't sit around with a dictionary at hand while reading Just In Case.)
For me, a dictionary (hell, I'd like encyclopedic reference) is a primary point behind me buying an ebook reader. All the other purported advantages mean far less to me. It was "hypertext" advantages that, to me, were the most significant potential technological advantage of ebooks.

FWIW, I used to use my old iMate "pocket PC" as my dictionary "at hand while reading Just In Case". Yes, my vocabulary is generally big enough to cover most things, and context is sufficient in most else, but I'm happy to admit to an obsessiveness to detail (in trying to understand, or avoid error) that drives this.

That is to say, it's less about me not having a dictionary at hand when reading pbooks, than there being subjectively little advantage (reason to buy) over pbooks in the absence of a dictionary.

Does this make sense, ardeegee? I've probably over-worded it a little, as I tend to do.

[FWIW again, good annotation & highlighting is something I'd strongly desire in an ebook reader, preferably in a manner that allows you to get those highlights and annotations out of the ebook into a separate file]

Cheers,
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:30 PM   #14
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Does this make sense, ardeegee? I've probably over-worded it a little, as I tend to do.
It makes sense, but it is something I never actually thought about before reading people stating need for a built-in dictionary on ebook readers. I don't claim to know all words, but I not only can't recall the last time I broke out my old Webster's (bought around 20 years ago) I'm not even 100% sure I still have it. Now, I have to use the Urban Dictionary to teach me about terms such as "donkey punch" or "blumpkin", but those terms are oddly rare occurrences outside of the web...
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Old 01-30-2010, 11:13 PM   #15
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...Now, I have to use the Urban Dictionary to teach me about terms such as "donkey punch" or "blumpkin", but those terms are oddly rare occurrences outside of the web...
Yes, I'm pretty sure my Chambers doesn't have them (but I'll have to go have a look. Who knows what they're putting in dictionaries these days, such that it's essential to ban them from school libraries? ).

Cheers,
Marc
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