Annotate anything. Broaden your perspectives. Debate.
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Table of Contents

What's Notist?

Notist's goal is to facilitate the process of acquiring, synthesizing and annotating online information about any topic, for anyone who is looking for a more interesting and principled way to browse the web.

We’ve created an annotation tool that lets people annotate articles and share them in public communties, private groups, or keep them in a personal notebook. We've created a Chrome browser extension and companion website. On, we allow for the creation and discovery of groups where annotations and discussions are shared. When you view the article on the web, annotations from previous readers automatically load.

We also think that the most popular current methods of discovering web content, namely Google and Facebook, tend to push users toward consuming information that reinforces their existing viewpoints, and also do not help users remember things they saw even a few days ago. Furthermore, no productive discussion about online content ever takes place, since Internet users often end up operating in an echo chamber of their like-minded peers. Thus, we've created the Explore feed. This feed helps users find content that appeals to them and may also broaden their perspectives. They can then participate in conversations about the content with their friends and the entire Notist community.

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How does Notist work?

On you can search public groups and join them. You can also create groups! In these groups, we display annotated articles that have been shared with this group. you can easily see the discussion at a glance or navigate to the article to read it and it's annotations in line.
Here's a sample article that might be in your explore feed.
Our browser extension loads on any article online. You can highlight text, click on button, and text jumps to sidebar. Add your comment. Choose who you want to share with. Or see previous comments and reply on the article. See all public annotations or just ones made by specific groups
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How do you recommend articles?

In order to have the Explore Algorithm work from the outset, without a lot of users or articles in our database and any understanding of their “skew” or “bias”, the recommendation engine is currently restricted to users with Facebook. Our algorithm harnesses the open source project at, which analyzes one’s facebook profile and friends to discern a user’s political bubble. The idea behind this approach to Explore is that it will learn something about the political bubble users exist in and thus show a user content outside of theirs. Once we have this data on a user, our backend begins serving them articles that are 1.5-2 standard deviations away from the average of their social media bubble. An article’s explore score is determined by the scores of the users that annotate it. Therefore, the more diverse the group of users is that annotate a specific article, the more likely it will be served to users of varying political persuasions. A large problem we encountered when using Politecho’s open source code was actually implementing it in the context of our platform. Their data analysis scrapes HTML of public facebook pages, which can only be done from a browser extension in order to satisfy HTTP access control standards (CORS). Therefore, although the explore feature exists on the frontend, we had to run Politecho’s initialization scripts from the browser extension, which meant implementing message passing services between the browser extension and front end web client.

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Where can I use Notist?

Any website in Chrome. Chrome only. But it should work on any operating system that you can install CHrome on!

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How does Notist work behind the scenes? What actually happens when I highlight an article?

We wil lbe answering this soon! ~Stay tuned~

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Is this secure? You gonna sell my data cuh?

Yeah we have SSL certs and we're not going to sell your data ever.

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Cool logo. Where can I buy a sticker?

You want a sticker?! I want to make a sticker. Please venmo @byrne-hollander $3 and fill out this form and I'll see what I can do

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What's the deal with bugs?

  • The color scheme is whack (to some)
  • sometimes we get the wrong URL and send that to mercury API in our
  • Editing group info
  • Editing annotation
  • Reporting things (and to a larger extent a moderation view)
  • Sharing
  • Inviting people to groups / password protecting groups
  • Better recommendations
  • A back button in discussion view to get back to the feed. Also need article title in the top nav bar on the discussion view
  • The unsubscribe / subscribe button isn’t always what I want it to say (but it works regardless!)
  • The group toggle isn’t reliable
Found another bug? Submit it here

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Still confused?

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Who made Notist?

Notist was made by a group of Dartmouth students. It's very much a work in progress and we appreciate your support. If you have any feedback, please send it to We promise to never sell your data-- you can check out our privacy policy here. We are using this thing called hotjar for analytics so we know how to improve our user experience.

Here's our slide deck from our midterm presentation: