Collaboration in Pressbooks using Hypothesis and Comments

Usage Context: We are a team of users, collaborating on Pressbooks to create Curriculum that is constantly being updated each semester. Reviewing each chapter, leaving feedback and approving/resolving feedback is critical to our development process. We are looking for how to best use Pressbooks for collaboration, perhaps in a manner similar to the “comment/resolve comment” feature usage that exists in Google docs.

We have used Hypothesis for Annotating/leaving feedback. It seems since the purpose of Annotations is a little different, that functionality for “resolution/closing” doesn’t exist in Hypothesis. So, it’s just been hard to know which annotations still need to be looked at, since the ones that are responded to/"taken care of” are still around. (I understand they can be tagged, but they are still visible until one goes through and explicitly deletes them.)

We are also looking at the use of Comments in Pressbooks. Enabling comments within Pressbooks seems to provide that approval capability. However, I don’t see a way to explicitly select/highlight text to comment; the comment is associated with the whole chapter. Am I missing something here?

I’m looking for a solution/process that provides the best of both Hypothesis and Comments: Explicitly select parts of a chapter for commenting/annotating and an approval capability that Comments provides.

Would appreciate any help in this area! Thank you!

Hi! I don’t have solution for this problem, but I’ve had a similar issue and want to share what I’ve learned about using Hypothesis for feedback. I’ve used hypothesis to leave editorial feedback on Pressbooks and discovered later that because Hypothesis uses what they call fuzzy anchoring to match a comment to highlighted text, sometimes if you edit the highlighted text in Pressbooks then the original hypotheis comment will no longer be anchored to that part of the text and could end up attached to a different part of the text or “orphaned.” So for example when I was leaving feedback on a Pressbooks book I’d highlight one or two words with hypothesis ex: “she said” comment: cut. Then the author would respond to my comment by editing the Pressbook and removing the text the comment was originally anchored to, but instead of the comment disappearing or being orphaned, the comment would jump to the next place in the chapter the author used the phrase that I’d originally highlighted with hypothesis (in this example the next instance of “she said”). So it created a confusing situation where after an author made changes based on my feedback my comments moved around and looked like they were referring to different parts of the text! One way to avoid this issue is by highlighting whole sentences or paragraphs, so that there is less opportunity for the “fuzzy anchoring” to get confused. Part of the reason it was such a big problem for us is that I have a tendency to highlight just a word or two to comment on. I just wanted to share in case you run into this problem since I found it so challenging to deal with the first time it came up.

I agree that it would be great if Pressbooks added a more robust comment feature to the platform!

Thanks a lot for that tip! Yes, I have had an issue where the annotation gets unanchored or anchored incorrectly due to the initial highlighted text it was associated with, being deleted. Will keep that in mind!
Still hoping that there is a more robust way or process to comment/review/collaborate among authors within Pressbooks.

So, one of the tactics that we have tried in the paste is to create a Google Drive version of each chapter.

Then we created an “improve this page” button for each chapter which led to the Google Drive version of the course which was in suggesting mode. Then we can get comments written all over the google drive, and if we make a practice of updating pressbooks only when we accept changes.

We also put a wrapper around those suggest buttons so they didn’t show up in our exports.

Interesting - thank you! We just migrated all of our curriculum from Google docs to Pressbooks recently because maintenance/updates were becoming problematic!

Also, we now have many tables and formatting in the curriculum in Pressbooks, so moving it back and forth might require reformatting the content in Pressbooks.