n. Information, especially explanatory notes or commentary, added to a completed document.


In diplomatics, annotations include markings that relate to their handling or management, such as instructions, dates of hearing or readings, signs beside the text, cross-references, protocol number, classification code, date stamp. In documentary editing, annotations help explain texts, including information about variant editions and explanations of information once common knowledge but now unfamiliar to most readers. In rare books and archives, annotation usually refers to comments on the materials made by the collector.


Levy 2001, p. 92–93 Annotation is, of course, one of the most basic and important ways we have to tailor a document to particular circumstances of use. . . . We may write on a memo or a printed copy of an e-mail message, then fax the annotated copy to someone else. Or we may write in the margins of a book we're reading, or highlight the text with a colored marker. InterPARES 2002, p. 6 Annotations (additions made to a record after it has been created) . . . fall into three basic groups: 1) additions made to the record after its creation as part of its execution (e.g., the date and time of transmission added to an email record at the moment it is sent, or the indication of attachments added before it is transmitted); 2) additions made to the record in the course of handling the business matter in which the record participates (e.g., comments noted on the face of the record, or embedded in it, and dates of transmission to other offices); 3) additions made to the record in the course of handling it for records management purposes (e.g., the classification code or file number assigned to the record, its draft and/or version number, cross references to other records, and an indication of scheduling actions). Kline 1998, p. 211 Even while establishing the documentary texts that form the core of any edition, editors must consider the documents' need for editorial explanatory or informational annotation, glossaries and gazetteers, back-of-book records, and even the form of the index that provides the ultimate access to the contents of text and notes alike.