UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The role of pre-existing highlights in reader–text interactions and outcomes Dodson, Samuel; Freund, Luanne; Kopak, Rick


Many digital information environments enable sharing of readers’ highlights and other annotations, despite the lack of clear evidence of the effects on interaction behaviours and outcomes. We report on an experimental user study (n=15) of the impact of pre-existing highlights of varying quality on the digital reading process and outcomes of participants with different cognitive styles. We found that highlight quality affects surface level comprehension, but not deeper understanding. Participants were able to assess highlight quality and expressed different approaches to highlighting that influenced their interpretation of pre-existing highlights. Results regarding the impact of cognitive style were inconclusive.

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