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Vannotea User Guide

1 Installation

1.1 Prerequisites

  • Microsoft Windows XP
  • Microsoft .NET Framework Version 2.0 (download)
  • Windows Media Player 10
  • Quicktime 7.1
  • Annotea Sidebar (included in installer)

1.2 Installation Wizard

  1. Execute the Vannotea installer (Vannotea.exe)
  2. Agree to the license agreement

  3. Vannotea will be extracted into C:\Program Files\Vannotea

2 UI Components

2.1 Vannotea (Main Application)

Main Menu:


- Open To open a new file in the content viewer

- Exit To close the application


- Preferences To edit/configure the preferences for Vannotea (see 4.1 How to configure Vannotea)


To open a new file in the content viewer

Jump to the beginning of all files

Pause all files

Play all files simultaneously

Synchronise all files to the same time like the current file

Share all files

Make all content viewers "private"

2.2 Media Browser

The Media Browser (an embedded Internet Explorer) allows you to browse and search online repositories that host the content you might want to annotate or discuss collaboratively using Vannotea. You use the online browse and search tools provided by the repository to find the content and then open it inside the content viewer.

It contains the familiar functions of your web browser such as an address bar as well as a "Go Back", "Go Forward", "Stop" and "Home" button.

2.3 Content Viewer

The content viewer allows you to view and control an array of different formats. The following table shows which filetypes will be opened with which embedded player/program:

Embedded Player/Program

File type


.mov, .mp4, .mp3, .qt

Windows Media Player

.mpg, .mpeg, .wmv, .avi


.pdb, .mol, .xyz, .cml

Picture Viewer

.dcm, .jp2, .jpg, .tif, .bmp, .jpeg, .giv

Shockwave Flash Player


Internet Explorer


Each player might come with different functionalities, e.g. play, pause and seek for video and audio; zoom in or out and pan for pictures; rotate or tilt for 3D objects.

2.4 Annotea Sidebar

The Annotea Sidebar allows you to create notes or post remarks, questions, hyperlinks and other kind of information about the content. This is what we call a subjective annotation made by you as an individual. The annotation is attributed to you, but you can control access to your annotation by attaching a policy to it.

The sidebar always automatically retrieves all the annotations from you and other users it can find (displayed in the Annotations Tab). Additionally you can search for annotations and then retrieve the content they refer to.

For detailed information about the functionality of the Annotea Sidebar refer to its separate user guide.

2.5 Annotea Timeline

The Annotea Timeline displays the annotations along a timeline for time continuous data such audio and video files, in which case the annotations might refer to a segment or a frame/time point within the file.

The little icons represent the same annotations that are being displayed within the Annotea Sidebar's Annotations Tab.

2.6 Jabber Client

The Jabber Client allows you to connect to a Jabber Server and - similar to your Instant Messaging client - lets you manage your contacts and start collaborative sessions with other users by inviting them into a Jabber conference room.

2.7 Jabber Chat

Using the Jabber Chat, you can exchange instant messages with users inside the conference room.

2.8 Record and Replay

Record and Replay includes functionalities to record the events of a collaborative session and save them in a log file or to replay events of a previously recorded log file. Application events such as opening a file, playing, pausing, seeking to a specific position, drawing a region on top of a frame, are being represented as little icons along a timeline when they happened.

3 How to

3.1 How to configure Vannotea

Select Edit/Preferences in the main menu (or press CTRL+R). This will open the Vannotea Preferences dialogue box, where you should at least modify the following settings:

- The media browser homepage (General Tab), which will be automatically accessed when you start up Vannotea.

- The Annotea Servers you want to retrieve annotations from (Annotea Tab). The default annotation server is where your annotations will be posted to and stored.

- The address of the Jabber Server (Jabber Tab) you have access to with your username and password, as well as the settings for your conference room on that server. Please contact the Sys Admins of your Jabber Server if you don't know the values of the "conference room".

3.2 How to browse, open and view media files

(Watch video)

You can use the Media Browser on the left to access any online media repository through its web portal. Just type the URL into the Address bar like in your web browser and hit enter. The web portal might support functionalities such as browsing and searching the content. Use the tools as provided.

Once you have found the content you would like to annotate or discuss, you can open it by clicking the link (if it is a link to a video or audio file) or by dragging the link onto the "Open File" field at the bottom of the browser. Additionally, if you already know the URL to the file you want to annotate or discuss, you can open it directly through the "Open File" toolbar button or menu item or by pressing CTRL+O. This will open an "Open File…" dialogue box, where you can type in the URL and click "OK" or hit enter to open the file.

The file will be opened inside the content viewer in the centre. If it is a time continuous file (such as video or audio), you will find common controls such as play and pause, two track bars to seek (the small trackbar can be used to seek within one segment if the information is available), a status bar and tools to draw and annotate the content (see 4.4 How to annotate content and secure the annotations).

You can turn off the status bar or the small track bar through the context menu of the player (right-click, View).

3.3 How to compare multiple media files

(watch video)

When you open another file after having one open already, Vannotea will open it in another tab automatically. You can rip tabs out and align them next to each other using the Diamond Docking control.

Vannotea provides common controls for audiovisual content that control all open players simultaneously, e.g. you can use them to start playing two videos at the same time.

The Annotea Sidebar always displays the annotations for the file of the selected tab of the content viewer.

3.4 How to annotate content and secure the annotations

1. Navigate to the position of the content you want to annotate

2. Optionally, you can draw regions on top of the content using the drawing tools of the content viewer. These drawings will be stored alongside as part of your annotation.

3. Click the Annotate Tab of the Annotea Sidebar

4. Enter the title and select the type of annotation you wish to make

a. Comments, questions, etc. will be stored as plain text annotations

b. See also annotations could be a link to an external resource or a local file (which would then be uploaded to the annotation server and referenced to)

c. Semantic annotations are currently being trialled.

5. Based on the type of annotation you've selected in the previous step, you will be presented with different forms to enter your annotation, e.g. a text box for plain text annotations, a URL address bar for links or a file browser for attaching local files.

6. Optionally, you can attach a policy (see 4.5 How to create a Policy) to the annotation to secure it.

7. Optionally, the annotation can be about more than one content item being viewed, in which case you can select multiple content items

8. Click the send button.

3.5 How to create a Policy

(Refer to the Annotea Sidebar's user guide)

3.6 How to search, filter and open annotations

(Refer to the Annotea Sidebar's user guide)

Additionally to the Sidebar, the annotations of an audiovisual file are also displayed along a timeline at the bottom (Annotea Timeline Tab). Right-click on the timeline to display the annotations by author or by date.

Click an annotation item on the timeline to open the equivalent one in the sidebar. A double click will trigger the content viewer to jump to the position and draw any regions on top of the content if applicable.

3.7 How to collaborate over the content using Jabber

(watch video)

1. Access the Jabber Client at the bottom (Jabber Client Tab).

2. Click "Connect" (you might have to enter your Jabber ID and password if you have not set them in the Vannotea Preferences, see 4.1 How to configure Vannotea)

3. Optionally, right-click the contact list to access functions such as adding a new contact or deleting a current one and managing subscriptions (permissions to see each other online) with your contacts.

4. Click "Enter Conference" to enter the conference room you have defined in the Vannotea Preferences (see 4.1 How to configure Vannotea) - the conference room will be active when entered successfully.

5. You can invite users from your contact list into the conference room by dragging & dropping them into the conference room. They will then receive a message box with an invitation. Once they accept the invitation, they enter the conference room.

6. Optionally, you can use the chat client (Jabber Chat Tab) to post messages to the conference room

7. Once you are inside a conference room, you can "share" your content with the other users in the room by turning on the collaborative mode (click the "toggle collaborative mode" button in the top right corner next to the address of the content viewer). This will open the same content for all other users in the room and jump to the current position if necessary. While in collaborative mode, all control such as play, pause and seek as well as the drawing tools are being shared by everyone.


- Turn off the collaborative mode if you want to view your content "privately", without being affected by the controls of other users whilst still remaining in the conference room.

3.8 How to record and save a collaborative session

(watch video)

1. Follow the steps in 4.7 How to collaborate over the content using Jabber You have to be connected to a Jabber Server and be inside a conference room to enable the recording.

2. Click the record button

3. Trigger application events such as play, pause, seek, etc. As the events happen, they are being displayed as little icons along the timeline and attributed to each user triggering the event on different tracks.

4. Optionally, you can change the view to a text view rather than a timeline to see the textual information of the log.

5. To end the recording, click the record buttonagain.

6. You can save the recorded event log in a log text file by clicking the save button .

3.9 How to replay a collaborative session

(watch video)

1. Open the log file of a previously recorded session if you haven't already recorded a session open.

2. Optionally, seek to a position within the timeline by clicking the ruler of the timeline or zoom in and out using the zooming buttons .

3. Click the play button to start playing back the session. As the time pointer passes the application events represented as little icons, they are being triggered and handled by Vannotea.

4. To pause or stop the replaying, click the play button again

4 Bugs

4.1 Known Bugs

- You have to click the video content in order for the drawings to appear. The embedded video player paints its content on top of the drawings ignoring the specified z-order.