The digital common read: Creating a space for authentic engagement with social annotation


  • Matthew Wranovix University of New Haven
  • Mary Isbell University of New Haven



common read, social annotation, digital humanities, first-year experience


This paper describes a new approach to the common read at the University of New Haven, USA. Faculty and students choose a text in the public domain, place it on the web, and ask incoming first-year honors students to annotate the text collaboratively using Hypothesis. The choice of text, placement on the web, and editorial introduction can all affect rates of participation and the type of annotations that students choose to share. This method is a low-cost way of creating space for a social intellectual experience prior to arriving on campus.

Author Biographies

Matthew Wranovix, University of New Haven

Honors Program Director and Lecturer in History

Mary Isbell, University of New Haven

Assistant Professor of English