Recent Downtime: September 2018

We would like to apologise for the recent downtime of eMargin.

This was caused by a server configuration error which led to two different versions of the database being active. One was active up to until 16 August 2018, the other was active between 16 August 2018 – 20 September 2018.

We took eMargin offline to give us time to repair the damage and merge the two databases. We have done all we can to restore missing data and combine duplicated records. However, you may still notice (what should be) small changes to some of your data in eMargin, such as names of groups that you may have changed during that period being reverted back to their original names.

Additionally, if you have saved URLs in the form /text?id=0000, /group?id=0000 or /ann?id=0000 outside of eMargin, you may find that these URLs no longer work. You will still be able to access your content by navigating through the eMargin pages. LTI and sharing links are not affected.

If you notice any inconsistencies that can’t be easily rectified please contact us at rdues @

We have since put measures in place to prevent this error occurring again.

Again, sorry for the inconvenience caused and we hope you are happy to continue using eMargin.

Recent Changes: Recent Changes

We’re delighted to announce an update to the eMargin home page. We’ve added some more information to the list of texts, displaying your recently accessed texts, and the latest changes made to them. For example:


This will make it easier to find texts you’ve been working with and checking what your collaborators have been up to.

A list of all of your available texts can still be accessed via the My Texts menu, and of course via their groups.

VLE Connectivity

Recently we’ve been working on using the IMS LTI specification to allow Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) to link to eMargin. We’re happy to announce that this system is now available.

It enables a student to move seamlessly from the VLE to eMargin with just one click. An account is automatically created for them (no need to login or sign up) and they are added to a group along with others from the same module. You can find more details in the user guide.

It’s currently in a beta testing stage and we are looking for volunteers to use it in real scenarios with groups of students. If you are interested please email to get connected.

Groups and User Guide

GroupPreviously we required users to ask for permission to create groups. We have now opened up the group system to everyone. Groups are often the best way to share texts with other people. So if you wish to work on a text with others, please create a group and invite your collaborators to join in.

We have also updated our user guide with instructions on uploading texts and creating and sharing groups. This replaces our Instructions for Teachers which were previously available on the blog.

Search Improvements

We’ve improved our search system to allow you to search for annotations in full texts and groups.

eMargin splits long texts into sections. Now you’ll find an extra option in the search pop-out to specify whether to search the section you are working on or the whole text (at the bottom of the screenshot below).

On a group’s page, you’ll find a Search option in the left-hand menu.

In both cases, you can search for highlighted text, comments, colours, tags, who has contributed to the annotation and when contributions were made.


Changes to Groups

With the latest update of eMargin we’ve made some changes to the way permissions are transferred to a text from a group. This has enabled us to add IMS LTI links, which can be used with many Virtual Learning Environments to enable seamless transition into eMargin.

Previously the link from the group to the text determined the access permissions on that text for all of its members. Now, the access level that a user has in a group will become the access level that a user is assigned in the connected texts (with the possibility to set a maximum level). We have updated the instructions for setting up groups and texts to reflect this [edit: these instructions have been discontinued, please see the user guide instead].

XML Export

eMargin can be used to code elements of texts in a precise manner, especially by using tags to categorise annotations. You may then wish to use those codings in other tools. To facilitate this we have added a XML export feature to eMargin.

In the Admin section of each Text you’ll now find an Export Text option. You can choose which annotation features you would like to export (the text, comments, tags, permalinks or everything). The XML will then be generated. The format is a small twist on TEI, in the namespace

Deleting Texts and Groups

A regularly requested feature for eMargin is the ability to delete a text or group. We’ve now updated the tool to enable this. Go to the ‘Text Admin’ page of a text you own and you’ll see a ‘Delete Text’ link in the left-hand menu. You’ll be asked if you’re sure before anything happens. Please be careful as you will also delete all annotations, comments, tags and colour information associated with the text.

Refinements to Groups and Touch-screen Highlighting

In eMargin groups are used to control who can access a text. Users may be members of multiple groups and may wish to limit the annotations displayed in a text to just one of them. Now, you can do just that:

The above section can be found in the sidebar when viewing a text. Click the ‘Switch’ button to open up a list of your groups to choose from, or choose ‘Any Group’. The displayed highlights will then be limited to that group. Also, when filtering the annotations by colour, tag or other search options, only those from within the group will be displayed.

This group setting is also set when a user accesses a group page. This is useful when you have separate groups of students, who will see only their own group’s annotations when they subsequently access a text.

We’ve also made some improvements to highlighting on touch-screen devices. Users may drag over the text with their finger tip to highlight words and phrases, just as they would with a mouse. Similarly you can drag open annotations around using their title bars. To scroll the page just touch in the white space elsewhere. Many touch-screen devices will be recognised automatically, but you can also change between selection methods using the Preferences button in the sidebar:

Recent changes

Just a quick update to tell you about the recent changes we’ve made to eMargin.

 Firstly, we’ve added a ‘Show only my annotations’ button so you can quickly hide everything other than the annotations or comments that you have written.

 Secondly, in the texts and on pages where your texts are listed, you’ll see a little notification circle telling you if there have been any updates to the text since you last viewed it.

We’re always taking suggestions for new features and if you’d like to add yours then either use our feedback form or comment on this post.