Theory Article

Towards the digital preservation of DOM-node-keyed scholarly web annotations

  • Martin Paul Eve (Birkbeck, University of London)


The current generation of web annotation technologies use a set of keying techniques, often based on the Document Object Model (DOM) for representing HTML content, that link an annotation to its target content. However, when the DOM structure changes, for any reason, or browser rendering engines parse the underlying source differently, annotations can be orphaned and incorrectly re-attached. This article explores the preservation strategies that are required to ensure the longevity of scholarly annotations that use such technologies. These recommendations range from the social changes needed for the perception of annotations as first-class scholarly objects through to the technological changes and infrastructures that are needed for the preservation of such objects. It concludes with a series of recommendations for changes in practice and infrastructure that work towards the digital preservation of DOM-node-keyed scholarly web annotations.

Keywords: digital preservation, annotation, document object model, browser internals, document parsing

How to Cite:

Eve, M. P., (2017) “Towards the digital preservation of DOM-node-keyed scholarly web annotations”, Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication 5(1), eP2178. doi:

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Published on
07 Jun 2017
Peer Reviewed