Emily Zhang is a senior majoring in Symbolic Systems and minoring in philosophy. She enjoys writing, drawing, and surfing.
Lacuna Stories is a Stanford-based digital humanities project designed to improve the way we read and learn together: a social and collaborative online platform for research, learning and teaching built around the concept of annotation.
Annotation - taking notes as you read - is an age-old practice for making sense of texts. Annotation lets you reflect on what you’re reading as you read, which will help you understand the text more deeply. Your annotations will also make it easier for you to come back to the text later on and see what was important or what you were thinking the first time around.
Skilled readers use annotation to engage in dialogue with the author and to play with ideas. They underline key concepts and passages. They make notes to trace themes throughout the text, to ask questions of the text, or to make connections with other texts and concepts.
Lacuna Stories is an exploratory, interactive web of materials for you to read and annotate socially. Lacuna Stories lets you make notes on all texts, images, videos and audio, which encourages active reading and reflection. You can share your notes with the class to turn your solo reading experience into a reading community. A typical class meets once or twice a week, but Lacuna Stories does not stop there -- you can continue the discussion online, developing your thoughts as you encounter new texts and building on the ideas of your classmates.
By enabling social annotation features, the platform allows complex and comparative engagement with different forms of media concerning an academic topic. Lacuna Stories has been used to teach courses and for collaborative research at North American universities such as Stanford, UC Berkeley, Princeton, Dartmouth, UMichigan; the Universities of Haifa (Israel) and Uppsala (Sweden); and community colleges in California such as Foothill, DeAnza, Las Positas and the College of San Mateo.