a $50k fund supporting
Open Annotation
presented by Hypothes.is

The Fund

The Open Annotation standard promises to become a new layer over human knowledge.

$50k has been contributed by Hypothes.is and other donors,
all as non-profit, charitable donations to make this a reality.

The Need

We must take annotation to the boundaries of the web. It must be integrated with countless applications, technologies, libraries, products, web sites and more.

In many cases, the projects exist, and the developers are eager to do the work, but schedules and the demands of producing sustainable income prohibits focus on the effort. What's needed is a relatively small amount of funding to facilitate that focus.

Grants as small as $2-10k can open up entirely new use cases and integrations with important platforms and libraries.

The Solution

A grantmaking process that would solicit and receive proposals to expand the existing universe of open source software that implements or works with the Open Annotation specification. Funds are distributed as grants with only limited obligations.

Applications do not need to relate to any particular annotation platform or technology, but only to generally integrate or provide annotation functionality and be open source in nature.

The Grants

Awards are made on a rolling basis, after review of existing applications. Grant amounts are based on a combination of the applicants’ assessment of difficulty and the judges assessment of the utility of the proposed integration, difficulty and novelty in illustrating new use cases for annotation.

Small grants will be made directly to individuals or small organizations in amounts ranging from $2k to $10k depending on the work to be done and other considerations. Funds will be paid 50% upon award and 50% upon completion.


Completed Projects funded by the Open Annotation Fund.

Cross-browser Support

for Annotator

The first award of $7,500 went to the Open Gov Foundation for work by Chris Birk and Bill Hunt for cross-browser support in Annotator.

On-Demand Web Archiving of Annotated Pages

Standalone API

The second award of $3,000 went to Ilya Kreymer for building an open API for on-demand web archiving of annotated pages.

Scaling Up Content Analysis

API & AnnotatorJS Add-on

The third award of $9,000 went to Nick Adams and the Text Thresher team for adding focused, task oriented content analysis features to Annotator.

Annotations in Ebooks

EPUB format Annotation

The fourth award of $7,300 went to Fred Chasen and the FuturePress project for inmproving epub.js integration and EPUB format selector storage.


a brief history of the Open Annotation Fund

The Judges

Our judges were selected from around the open source, knowledge, and annotation communities.

Phil Desenne

Annotation Lead, HarvardX / edX

Rob Sanderson

Co-Chair, Open Annotation Community Group, Stanford University

Doug Schepers

Developer Relations, W3C

Nick Stenning

Lead Developer, Annotator, Hypothes.is

Submit Your Application

Applicants should submit a one page summary overview of their proposal to fund@hypothes.is. The summary should cover:
  • The overall goal of your larger work
  • How annotation figures in your proposal
  • The team members that would do the work
  • The relevant product, service or code library that any work would affect.
  • The end product code, feature or product that would be produced as result of the grant.
  • Where the initial, progress, and final blog posts summarizing the work will be published.
  • A rough sizing in terms of development time required to complete the effort.

Applicants Agree that:
  • All design elements and software produced as a result of their work would be made open source on a maximally permissive license (MIT, BSD, Apache, etc) without restrictions on subsequent use (including commercial).
  • The software will be made publicly available either directly or via a popular open-source software repository.
  • The software will be well documented.
  • They will blog about the work they’ve done, describing the purpose in doing it, the particulars of the effort, the result and the future opportunities.
  • They will agree to provide basic support to the developer community for a year after the award.

Send your brief intro and a link to an annotatable document to fund@hypothes.is