Consumers as Creators

Consumers as Creators: Understanding the annotation needs of the scientific community through the domain of botany

Consumers as Creators seeks to analyze botanical researchers’ annotation needs and develop a prototype of how those needs may be met within a digital library platform. The intended outcome of the proposed project is to illuminate literature annotation needs of scientific and other research communities by honing in on the annotation needs of a well-defined user group in systematic botany. Assessment of the practicality of an existing tool to satisfy the annotation needs of botanical users, including technical, economic, and operational considerations, will inform developers on best practices to integrate an annotation tool within a virtual library. Ultimately, a list of planning activities and partner commitments needed for a more robust project proposal will result. Results will help to illuminate and inform about the annotation needs of botanists as well as those within the broader scientific research community. 


a. Needs Analysis Report with prioritized list of annotation needs for users of a botanical virtual library. (Appendix 3. | Appendix 4.)
b. Feasibility Study with the evaluation of four open source existing annotation tools based on their potential to address the needs identified in the Analysis Report. (Appendix 5. | Appendix 6.).
c. Proof of concept prototype installed within a virtual library to demonstrate the functional capacity of one of the evaluated tools. (Appendix 7. | GitHub).
d. Outcomes Assessment with next step recommendations to propose a full-scale project adopting an annotation tool as part of a virtual library. (Appendix 8. | Bibliography ).


May 1st, 2018 through April 30th, 2020

Project Partners

The Missouri Botanical Garden’s Center for Biodiversity Informatics
Saint Louis University’s Center for Digital Humanities

Project Team

Missouri Botanical Garden

  • William Ulate
  • Trish Rose-Sandler
  • Paul Smock (Developer)
  • Marcela Mora (Botanical Consultant)

Saint Louis University

  • Thomas Finan
  • Patrick Cuba
  • Donal Hegarty

Original Proposal & Schedule

Schedule of Completion

Final Report

Final Performance Report
(including Appendices 1. and 2.)

List of open source Annotation Tools reviewed

Also included:


  • DLF Forum Las Vegas, NV October 2018 "Consumers as Creators: Understanding the annotation needs of the scientific community through the domain of botany" (slides)
  • iAnnotate Conference San Francisco, CA  June 2018  “Botanists and Annotations:  use cases and their relevance for the larger scientific community” (slides | video)
  • Finding the Annotation Needs of the Botanical Community in a Digital Library (slides | video)

Example of annotation in botanical community