Columns and Annotations
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CommonSpace is designed to create columns, either columns with annotations that link to particular items in the text or unlinked columns. To begin, a user writes a text in a workspace of CommonSpace (or imports a text from another word processing program). Then a collaborator or editor creates a column alongside the text into which s/he places annotations or comments (like marginal notes), annotations that link to particular items (words, phrases, sections) in the text.
The text and the annotations appear as parallel columns (see Illustration1 or Illustration 2). The creator of the annotations can choose to collapse annotations or not, which shows up as three colored dots in a row, which the original writer can click on and expand to read.
"Users can create as many columns as they want" (CommonSpace User's Guide 3). The original author can add a column of comments or concerns to guide readers. Each member of a group providing comments can have his/her own column. Users can move, hide, resize, and delete columns.
Users can choose the "compare columns" feature and CommonSpace will provide a comparison of any two selected columns and show their differences in a new column.
A user can divide a document into workspaces, essentially subdocuments, all of which automatically have the same filename and are stored together. Each document can have as many workspaces as you like; each workspace can have numerous columns.
A teacher (or potentially any other user) can organize a set of questions in a column that others can use to guide their thinking about a particular text. Questions can be collapsed so that users can see them one at a time.
Library of comments
A user can create a set of often-repeated comments or annotations and save them as a library.
CommonSpace can host a synchronous conference over a network, either local or over the Internet.
A user has a choice of fonts, styles,sizes, as well as formatting choices like double-spacing and center/align-right/align-left/justify text. Includes a spell checker. Also has color choices.
"Windows files can be opened on a Macintosh and vice versa without losing text or formatting" (CommonSpace User's Guide 3).
A 140-page user's guide, a Getting Started tutorial, and a Quick Start Reference Card.
A four-lesson tutorial.