Getting Started With Nota Bene

Nota Bene [NB] is a collaborative reading tool designed and supported by MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology].  It allows multiple readers to highlight sections of a document (poem, article) and then add a comment that corresponds to that highlighted section.

QUICK LINK to NOTA BENE (once you have registered): < >

What is unique here is that readers of the document or text on Nota Bene can respond either directly to the text itself, or to the comments of other readers.

Because the reading process on Nota Bene is public and collaborative rather than isolated and private (how we traditionally think of “reading) we will often refer to it in our class as “crowdsourcing”: reading on NB involves the dynamics of the crowd and the many rather than the singular or the individual.



You should receive a registration link from the instructor for the Nota Bene page for our course. After clicking the link you will be prompted to pick a name to register.  Enter your email and pick a password you can remember.

Once you have used your link to register you can enter Nota Bene from the main page and log in normally.

Once on the site you will see all of the readings that your instructor has uploaded for the course. Click on the assigned reading, and read as you normally would.  When you come to what seems like a significant section, use your mouse to drag and click a box around that section.  Then in the empty box on the right, add a comment that corresponds to the section you have highlighted (“Good point”, “Not well argued”, or “Biased and irrelevant” might be some comments or annotations you might make).

Then click the “Save” button to add your comment to the text.

If you are not the first reader of the document you will see the comments of others that have already read it on the right window of the Nota Bene screen.  Click on a comment to respond directly to it: repeat the procedure by clicking on the comment, typing your own reply/comment in the prompt area, then clicking “Save.”



We will only read a handful of texts on Nota Bene this term. The only rule for reading assigned texts there is this: post at least one comment, either in response to the text itself or in response to the comment of another.  There is no limitation to the amount of times you may comment on a text, of course.



The documents posted on Nota Bene can sometimes be difficult to read because of the quality of the scanning (which is completed automatically without much quality control).  You should be able to improve the quality and readability by adjusting the text for your browser.

Do this by hovering your cursor over the middle vertical bar that separates the left pane (the text) from the right pane (the commenting window).  Then drag the bar to the right.  This will magnify the text for easy readability.

Happy annotating and commenting!