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Research Guides

Annotating and Commenting in a Text

With Manifold, you have the option to annotate or comment on a project.  What’s the difference?

  • Annotations can be added only to the text of a project.  

    • Annotations can be set to be private or public.

    • Annotations show up seamlessly as part of the text, appearing underlined.example of manifold text with annotations underlined

    • To see the annotations associated with that section of the text, you can be clicked on the underlined portion and the annotation menu will appear.manifold annotation menu within text preview

  • Comments can be added to text or resources (images, media, interactive element).  

    • All comments are public.


Instructions for how to create annotations or comments are available in the Annotations and Highlights section of the Manifold User Guide.

Types of Annotations

There are three types of annotations:

  1. image of manifold annotation optionsMy Public Annotations: These annotations are public for anyone landing on the Manifold project to read and respond.
  2. My Private Annotations: These annotations are only visible to you. They are your opportunity to take notes on a text.
  3. Reading Groups: These annotations are only visible to other members of your reading group. There are also three types of reading groups: public, private, and anonymous. The "LIB 597" and the "Duwamish Reading Group" from the picture on the right are examples of private reading groups. In private reading groups, only the members of the group can read each other's annotations. They are not publicly viewable. Private reading groups are a good option for classes.

Before you begin annotating, be sure that you have selected the correct annotation option under the "Current Group" heading.

What are reading groups?

Reading groups are a way to share annotations with a select group of individuals. They live separate from Manifold text/projects, allowing a group to annotate multiple texts or projects within Manifold. 

Reading Group Roles

  1. Moderator: The moderator sets up the group, can change the group's settings, delete group members, and can delete the group.
  2. Member: Members can annotate Manifold texts or projects.

Reading Group Options

  1. Public: Annotations are publicly visible by anyone who encounters the annotated Manifold project. All annotations by group members are collected and can be easily viewed on the Reading Groups page. Public Reading Groups may be useful for public symposiums.
  2. Private: Annotations are only visible to members other members of a group. All annotations by group members are collected and can be easily viewed on the Reading Groups page. Private Reading Groups may be useful for courses.
  3. Anonymous: Annotations are only visible by fellow group members. The identity of group members is hidden from all except the group moderator. Anonymous Reading Groups may be useful for peer review.

To set up a Reading Group, see the Manifold Documentation.

How to Set Up a Private Reading Group

  1. To set up a Private Reading Group, log into Manifold with your email and password by clicking on the “person” icon in the upper right of the screen.

UW Manifold Website Header Menu

Manifold Login Menu

  1. Once logged in, click on the “person” icon again and then click “Manage Groups”

Manifold Homepage after login

  1. You’ll be taken to the “Manage Reading Groups” page. Click the “Create New Reading Group” green button in the upper right of the screen.

Manifold Managing Reading Groups Page

  1. From here, you'll have several reading group options:

    1. Group Name: Enter the Reading Group Name. For courses, we recommend using the course number.

    2. Privacy: The default is for a Private reading group meaning only those within the group will see each other’s annotations. You could also have a public reading group where all group annotations would be publicly viewable or an anonymous reading group where annotations can be left but are not attributed to the group members.

    3. Invitation Code: This code can be used by reading group members to join the reading group. You’ll receive a randomly generated invitation code. You may change this code. For courses, we recommend using the course number.

    4. Invitation URL: This link can be sent to individuals you wish to invite to join your group. Your link invitation will be randomly generated unless you have changed the invitation code at which point, the invitation code ID will match the code at the end of the URL. Note that they will need to create a Manifold account prior to clicking the link.

    5. Notifications: Check this box if you wish to receive an email each time a new member joins your reading group.

    6. When finished, click the “Save” button.

Manifold New Reading Group Menu

Manifold Reading Group Menu with URL link

  1. When complete, you’ll see your group listed on the “Manage Groups” page.

Manifold Reading Group List after adding a new group

  1. As the Group’s creator, you will automatically become the group “Moderator”. Group Moderators can update group settings (invitation codes, privacy levels, etc.), delete members, and delete the reading group. You may not transfer the Moderator role over to another group member.

  2. To invite members to your reading group, have them create a Manifold account and follow the invitation link or have them create a Manifold account and join with the invitation code.

Congratulations! You have created your first reading group!

How to Join a Private Reading Group

By default, all annotations to a Manifold book are publicly available for anyone to read. In a private reading group, you will be able to annotate publicly available texts on Manifold but only members of your private reading group will see your annotations.

To join a reading group:

  1. Go to:

  2. Click on the “person icon” in the upper right of the screen

UW Manifold Homepage

  1. A box will pop up where you may enter your email and set up a password of your choosing. Below the Log In button you’ll see a small link called, Need to sign up? Click on the "Need to sign up" link to set up your account.

Manifold Login Menu

4.  Enter your email address, full name, and a password of your choosing and create your account. We recommend you set up an account rather than link Manifold to your Facebook or Twitter account to protect your personal data. If you don’t want to remember an additional password, consider installing a password manager such as LastPass

Manifold Account Creation Menu

5. Once your account is created, you’ll be taken to a page where you have the option to customize your display name, add an optional profile image, or edit any of your personal information. You should be able to click the “save changes” button. You’ll see a Congratulations! message at the top of the screen indicating your account is saved!

Manifold Successfully Created Account Menu

6. From here, click on the “person icon” on the UW Manifold homepage again and then click on the “Manage Groups” link from the dropdown menu that appears.

UW Manifold Home Menu

7. You’ll be taken to the “Manage Reading Groups” page where you can join the reading group for your class. To “Join a Group,” add the reading code you received from your instructor into the text box and click the “join” button.

Manifold Managinf Reading Groups page

8. You’ll see a pop up box asking you to confirm you wish to join the reading group. Click “yes”

Join Reading Group Confirmation menu

9. You’ll see your Reading Group name and your role as a member listed, along with the total number of members of the group listed. You are ready to begin annotating a text(s) as part of your reading group!

Manifold Manage Reading Groups page after joining a group

How to Manage a Reading Group

  1. To start managing your reading groups, click on the “person icon” on the UW Manifold homepage and then click on the “Manage Groups” link from the dropdown menu that appears.UW Manifold Home Menu
  2. This will bring you to your "Manage Reading Groups" page, where you will have the option to create new reading groups, join a group or view a list of groups you moderate or are a member.

Manifold Managing Reading Groups page


  1. By clicking on a group in the list, you will be taken to that group's dashboard. Here you will be able to view the group information, edit the group, and see all the annotations made by group members. Each annotation will also include the portion of text annotated, the name of the group member who made it, and the time the annotation was made. The two dropdown menus on the right allow you to filter the annotations by text or group member.


  1. To see an annotation within a text, you can click on the location of the annotation right under the quotation. This will take you to the text and bring up the annotation menu.