As Hypothes.is moves from an early concept to a functional prototype and ultimately to a deployed application, it is essential that we organize ourselves to understand the primary communities of interest that we’re targeting. Of these, the scholarly community (scholars, scientists, journals, publishers and their various institutions) is certainly the most important. Members of this community are avid consumers of many tools related to collaboration, research, note taking, and others directly analogous to annotation. Moreover, they represent the highest quality potential participant base for developing an early group of active annotators.
It’s with this in mind that I’m delighted to announce that Peter Brantley is joining Hypothes.is as the Director of Scholarly Communications in February. He’ll be heading our strategy to identify the key challenges to the successful deployment of open annotation within the scholarly community, and then outline and help us execute against the steps necessary to address them.
Peter’s background is a remarkable fit with these responsibilities.
Indeed, the very first workshop I attended on annotation was one that Peter organized together with Todd Carpenter at NISO on developing bookmarking and annotation standards for ebooks. Most recently he served as the Director of the BookServer Project at the Internet Archive, where he worked “within a global open source development community, building and fostering an international ecology around the publication, distribution vending and lending of digital content based on open standards.” As a core part of his efforts at the Archive, he co-founded the Open Book Alliance, an alliance of major technology companies, library associations, and publisher groups advocating for an open and competitive market in digital books.
Peter is one of the most well-known figures in the open-source movement within online publishing. Among his numerous achievements, he founded the popular Books in Browsers conference, served as the Executive Director of the Digital Library Federation; was a board member of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF); is a contributing editor for Publishers Weekly for libraries, copyright, and internet publishing; and has held key technical roles at several major research universities, directing the development of large-scale digital library services.
If these synergies weren’t enough, Peter has also thought deeply about the essential ingredient necessary to bring about broad annotation of the world’s knowledge: open peer review. His 2012 report for a Andrew W. Mellon-funded study on the requirements for implementing open, online peer-to-peer review reads very close to a functional specification laying out the necessary characteristics and components of such a system.