AskDefine | Define annotation

Dictionary Definition



1 a comment or instruction (usually added); "his notes were appended at the end of the article"; "he added a short notation to the address on the envelope" [syn: note, notation]
2 the act of adding notes [syn: annotating]

User Contributed Dictionary




From annotationem (nominative of annotatio), from annotatus, past participle of annotare.


  1. a critical or explanatory commentary or analysis
  2. a comment added to a text
  3. the process of writing such comment or commentary
  4. metadata added to a document or program




fr-noun f

Extensive Definition

Annotation is extra information asserted with a particular point in a document or other piece of information.
Most commonly this is used, for example, in draft documents, where another reader has written notes about the quality of a document at a certain point, "in the margin".
Annotations about bibliographical sources, labeled annotated bibliographies, give descriptions about how each source is useful to an author in constructing a paper or argument. Creating these blurbs, usually a few sentences long, establishes a summary for and expresses the relevance of each source prior to writing.


In computing, the programmer often adds annotations to source code in the form of comments. These do not affect the working of the program but give explanations (for other programmers, or potential readers of the code principally, but also as a reminder for the author), hints or plans for improvement, etc.
Further annotations can also be added by a compiler or programmer in the form of metadata, which is then made available in later stages of building or executing a program. For example, a compiler may use metadata to make decisions about what warnings to issue, or a linker can use metadata to connect multiple object files into a single executable. Differences in computer languages have given rise to a variety of words for programmer-added metadata, including annotation (Java, Python), attribute (C#), pragma (C), and metadata (HTML).
Often, software developers need to be able to create and access information that is not going to be part of the source file itself. Such annotations are usually part of several software development activities, such as code walks and porting, where third party source code is analysed in a functional way. Annotations can therefore help the developer during any stage of software development where a formal documentation system would hinder progress. One tool that supports the creation of annotations for source code is kelp, which stores annotations in separate files, linking the information to the source code dynamically.
Many source code version control systems offer an "annotate" or "blame" feature which allows the user to see when and by whom a particular section in a source code file was last changed.

Computational biology

Given that molecular biology and bioinformatics have known the need for DNA annotation since the 1980s, where a previously unknown sequence representation of genetic material is annotated with information relating position to intron-exon-boundaries, regulatory sequences, repeats, gene names and protein products, etc. This annotation is usually stored in predefined fields in biological databases, especially sequence databases. There are a number of very active genomic and proteomic annotation projects today, including Mouse Genome Informatics, FlyBase, and WormBase. Educational materials on some aspects of biological annotation from this year's Gene Ontology annotation camp and similar events are available at the Gene Ontology website.


In the digital imaging community the term annotation is commonly used for visible metadata superimposed on an image without changing the underlying raster image, such as sticky notes, virtual laser pointers, circles, arrows, and black-outs (cf. redaction).


In the United States, legal publishers such as Thomson West and Lexis Nexis publish annotated versions of statutes, providing information about court cases that have interpreted the statutes. Both the federal United States Code and state statutes are subject to interpretation by the courts, and the annotated statutes are valuable tools in legal research.


In linguistics, morphological, syntactic, semantic, discourse and pragmatic annotations add information about the linguistic form. Other forms of annotation include comments and metadata; these non-transcriptional annotations are also non-linguistic. A collection of texts with linguistic annotations is known as a corpus (plural corpora). The Linguistic Annotation Wiki describes tools and formats for creating and managing linguistic annotations.
annotation in German: Annotation
annotation in Estonian: Annotatsioon
annotation in Japanese: 注釈
annotation in Russian: Аннотация
annotation in Slovak: Anotácia
annotation in Telugu: టీకా (భాష)
annotation in Ukrainian: Анотація

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

adversaria, aide-memoire, apparatus criticus, comment, commentary, commentation, docket, entry, exegesis, footnote, gloss, item, jotting, marginal note, marginalia, memo, memoir, memorandum, memorial, minutes, notation, note, note of explanation, register, registry, reminder, scholia, scholium, word of explanation
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1