PDF annotation testing

This page was created to contain a PDF, to see how it behaves when using hypothes.is as an online annotator.

Introduction of virtual patients onto a final year anesthesia course_ Hong Kong experience (1)

The above file had already been molested by Mendeley and ReadCube Papers, and some other annotators. Well, hypothesis looks promising in some ways but the annotation is tied to the URL (or more specifically, the PDF signature) so that the annotations that I made when editing it as WordPress Media, do not then show when I view the PDF using this page.

I’m not sure if it is useful within my usual workflow because it does not seem to easily load local files. Aha, there are some tweaks to get the Chrome Extension working with local PDF files. I did those but it was still fiddly to load that file from a local drive. (right click, Open with…) Shame because there are blog posts and notes (saved in PBrain) that show how powerful this is.

I made some more notes about this in PBrain, as the approach overall looked quite promising.

Now, when you launch it in a Chrome Extension on a local file, it gets a new URL. I wonder if we can use this.


Yes, you can, but this is not very accessible to other apps. It was not happy being launched as another tab in PBrain or Mendeley. (Got an error from PDF.js) You can force it to open but there is lots of fiddling.  So not feasible as a regular workflow. You could copy/paste that chrome URL into Chrome itself and then it will open quite happily.

But maybe you don’t need to. Since the hypothes.is Extension seems to recognize the file when it is opened from a variety of places, you may be able to keep it simple. No, you need to force it open using Chrome. At present, my default is Preview.app. You can use the Open With, which is then no different from using Highlights or Acrobat.

The biggest disadvantage to this approach is that, if you only use it occasionally, there is no prompt or indicator that the PDF has been annotated so you would not think to open it this way.

So, this is an interesting sidebar, with great potential, but too many little gotchas to replace my current approach of using Highlights 1.5 along with Mendeley, for journal articles. I can also use HL1.5 along with PBrain etc since the annotations are stored within the PDF.