On Annotating

In general, as a student I am not one to annotate, so one when it comes to writing in books, the short answer is that I do not, at all. As an outsider, the idea of a colorful annotated book, with color coded content is intriguing, however my brain just does not work this way. Only time I would ever be caught writing in books would be if I were to be forced to, i.e. a homework assignment or something of that nature. That being said, in the rare circumstance were I do find myself being forced to write in books I tend to abuse the skill of underlining and usually just resort to writing brief summaries next to each paragraph to make sure I got the jist of the content. For the most part I depend on the always handy summarizing and paraphrasing skills to make sure I understand what I am reading. This also comes in handy when I have to write about whatever I read later because I can just rewrite what I already wrote on the margins. When I write on the margins, I tend to write to myself and depend on a newly composed language of my choice as I see fit. As long, as I can understand it, it is all good. In hindsight, only time I genuinely annotate out of my own free will would be on my second run through the book. The first time, I read solely to understand the content and this takes me very long so, to take my time to annotate would not be time efficient. However, if assigned an assignment where I have to gather evidence or quotes, or do a word count of a specific word I will use annotating. I will dog-ear pages, and circle words, and highlight sentences, but I do all of this not out of pleasure or as a means for better understanding, but rather necessity and data gathering. I can only annotate once I know what I am annotating for, or already have an objective in mind, I cannot annotate blindly because I’ll just highlight the entire book from start to finish. Quickly touching upon, other people annotations, I simply do not find much use in them, I never even consider looking at them. I think this is for two reasons. The first reason is that I don’t think that anybody thinks the way I do so I do not think I will find anything useful in their annotations. The second reason has to do with my subconscious, being that because I know I annotate in my own language and in poor handwriting, I just assume everyone else does as well, so I do not think I could possibly understand their annotations if I wanted to. Lastly, when it comes to digital archives or PDFs, i approach annotating the same way I approach physical materials, I only annotate the second time around, when I am looking for something specific. I do however really enjoy the use of the search tool; makes finding words and making connections just so much easier, instead of having to re-read everything. All that being said, regardless of whether it be a new or used copy, or a physical book or an online file, annotation is not my cup of tea, and would not do it unless i absolutely had to.

 

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