Visual collaboration, visual annotation possible

Visual collaboration, visual annotation possible

A few weeks back I wrote a blog entry here about the annotation/collaboration site RapGenius.  There's also a new site/app out there called ThingLink that provides some interesting parallels with RapGenius.  It might be considered visual annotation.

The site allows you to implant icons or tags on a photo that, when clicked, pop up into text boxes, url’s, visuals, etc.  The one in the example below, from Medicins sans Frontieres, outlines the progress of the Ebola outbreak in Africa.  (MSF also uses a visual to tag testimony from victims of the violence in South Sudan).

The Hindustan Times used ThingLink to put text behind an infographic timeline of the ISIS advance in Iraq.

I’ve got to say that the icons available in the free version of ThingLink are pretty ugly, but at the least there are some interesting possibilities for annotating a large illustration of, say, a World War 1 battle scene.

I’m a big fan of what’s being done at RapGenius in its educator and news forums, and I think it will be interesting to see how the underlying similarities in purpose between TL and RG play out.  It would be intriguing to unleash a bunch of RG annotators on ThingLink. Obviously, there are fundamental differences that may prevent something like that from ever happening: one being business realities of different ownership and another that while a picture may be worth ten thousand words, it doesn't provide the annotating possibilities of ten thousand words.

Just as at RapGenius, there are free accounts especially for educators.

In what I think is a very intriguing expansion of the basic idea, ThingLink is expanding into videos.  From what I can gather, early access to this new program isNatl. Geo video w/ ThingLink tags availabl

e only to educators, but the video at that link gives a look at how it works.  They also just posted (June 24) a short mushroom video with tags.

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