From Reading to Retrieval: Freeform Ink Annotations as Queries


User interfaces for digital libraries tend to focus on retrieval: users retrieve documents online, but then print them out and work with them on paper. One reason for printing documents is to annotate them with freeform ink while reading. Annotation can help readers to understand documents and to make them their own. In addition, annotation can reveal readers’ interests with respect to a particular document. In particular, it is possible to construct full-text queries based on annotated passages of documents. We describe an experiment that tested the effectiveness of such queries, as compared to relevance feedback query techniques. For a set of TREC topics and documents, queries derived from annotated passages produced significantly better results than queries derived from subjects’ judgments of relevance.