Adding Digital Annotations on Physical Books

Submitted by George Krasadakis
3 months ago
A mobile app for book readers which allows adding digital comments or questions on a specific paragraph or sentence in order to enrich the book with user-generated content. Users benefit by organizing and discovering book metadata digitally - faster and without damaging the physical book when they need to take notes or annotate text in the book.
The scenario: you are reading a physical book — novel, technical or other. You are at an important point/ paragraph where you need help or you want to add a comment, take a note or ask a question.

What if you could use your smartphone to seamlessly submit your notes or discover popular notes from other users — on the particular paragraph or sentence you are currently reading? This is how it could work: You point your smartphone on a paragraph or a phrase in the physical book. Then the ‘book annotation app’ instantly performs the following steps:

1. Extracts the paragraph/ part of the page you are pointing the device— by using OCR (optical character recognition)

2. Uses the extracted paragraph/ text to perform a full-text-search against a large database of books — via a service call to Google’s Book API or similar.

3. Receives the response from the API — including the identifier of the book, metadata about the book and positioning information — a reference to the paragraph and page where the match was found.

4. Retrieves user-generated-content and metadata about the specific paragraph/ phrase/ page of the identified book.

5. Presents the summarized user-generated content to the user via the app — possibly in an Augmented Reality mode and/ or with voice support.

6. The user interacts with voice — to explore user-generated content and/ or append private or public comments on the identified paragraph of the book.

Alternatively, step 1 above, could be omitted, if the app fully supports Voice-driven interaction: instead of scanning the page and doing OCR to retrieve the text, the user could ask his/her Digital Assistant: ‘Google/Alexa/Siri/Cortana, tell me more about the paragraph starting with {Reads the start of the paragraph}’. Then, by applying speech to text, the process moves on to step 2.
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