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Annotating Digitally


Annotating allows you to actively engage with the text in a meaningful way.

There are two basic ways to annotate a document:

  • Mark up the text by underlining, highlighting, or circling words, phrases, and passages, and
  • Write notes in the margin.

Why Annotate?

  • Better understanding of the text
  • Remember key content
  • Visualize the material
  • Identify areas of interest
  • Make connections

When Annotating Do…Make your annotations meaningful. 

  • Make connections to other areas of the text, other resources, or to your own work.
  • Interpret and analyze content that may need an explanation.
  • Summarize by identifying basic concepts and putting them in your own words.
  • Ask questions. If there's something in the text you don't understand, make a note of it. 

When Annotating Avoid…

  • Highlighting without context – Don't just highlight text, write out why you think it is important.
  • Highlighting everything – Be selective as you go through the text. You don't want to go back to a document that is just a giant yellow blob.
  • One or two-word comments – Expand on the note to identify why you think it's good or confusing, etc.

Not sure which one is right for you? Check out the Which Tool is Right for Me? section to see where you should start.

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