Annotation is add on information asserted with a particular point in a document or other piece of information. Most commonly this is used, for example, in draft documents, where another reader has written notes about the quality of a document at a certain point, "in the margin". Annotations about bibliographical sources, labeled annotated bibliographies, give descriptions about how each source is useful to an author in constructing a paper or argument. Creating these blurbs, usually a few sentences long, establishes a summary for and expresses the relevance of each source prior to writing.

Computational biology

Given that molecular biology and bioinformatics have known the need for DNA annotation since the 1980s, where a previously unknown sequence representation of genetic material is annotated with information relating position to intron-exon-boundaries, regulatory sequences, repeats, gene names and protein products, and so on, this annotation is usually stored in Mouse Genome Informatics, FlyBase, and WormBase. Educational materials on some aspects of biological annotation from this year's Gene Ontology annotation camp and similar events are available at the Gene Ontology website


In the digital imaging community the term annotation is commonly used for visible metadata superimposed on an image without changing the underlying raster image, such as sticky notes, virtual laser pointers, circles, arrows, and black-outs (cf. redaction).


In the United States, legal publishers such as Thomson West and Lexis Nexis publish annotated versions of statutes, providing information about court cases that have interpreted the statutes. Both the federal United States Code and state statutes are subject to interpretation by the courts, and the annotated statutes are valuable tools in legal research.


In linguistics, morphological, syntactic, semantic, discourse and pragmatic annotations add information about the linguistic form. Other forms of annotation include comments and metadata; these non-transcriptional annotations are also non-linguistic. A collection of texts with linguistic annotations is known as a corpus (plural corpora). The Linguistic Annotation Wiki describes tools and formats for creating and managing linguistic annotations.

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