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Questions folks sometimes ask us.

What does it cost?

Lacuna is licensed by Stanford University, where it was created, as open-source software. Our ongoing project development and research is funded by grants and by collaborators at other institutions who have adopted Lacuna and helped us make it even better.

Who can use Lacuna??

Institutions can download the institutional agreement and Drupal-based software from our Github account. If you have your own server and a working knowledge of Drupal, you are welcome to use Lacuna for your educational needs. It is recommended that interested faculty contact their local technology support staff to discover options for installing and hosting Lacuna at their institution.

Is Lacuna a Learning Management System (LMS) like Canvas, Blackboard, or EdX?

Lacuna is often used as a LMS, as it allows students to sign up to your course, access course materials, send direct messages, and post student work and writing. However, we are also working on advanced Learning Technology Integrations (LTIs) to make Lacuna sync with major platforms like Canvas and EdX. This means its easy to stick with your current LMS if you enjoy its features, and simply make it connect and “sing with” Lacuna – making life simple for instructors and students alike.

Who owns the content I produce on the site, and what needs to be “public”?

At all times you control and own what you write, what you choose to share with other users, and all the thinking and writing work you do on Lacuna. To protect student privacy and rights, all work – from each individual annotation to final pieces of writing – can be kept private, only shared with the instructor, or shared with small groups or the entire class.

Do you have an app?

No. We believe in the open Web rather than buggy and platform-specific apps. That said, you’ll find that Lacuna works on most smartphones or tablet devices, with tablet-specific features like a pop-in/pop-out annotation filter sidebar.

What browser should I use?

We recommend Chrome or Safari, as they are most friendly with javascript.

Why the name “Lacuna”?

Lacuna means a hole or gap, and refers to the ways that syllabus materials, course readings, and class discussion all work to “fill the gaps” in our understanding of complex topics, issues, or fields. The Sewing Kit and Threads used on the site continue this metaphor and emphasize how small acts like annotation or commentary on a text can serve as tools for stitching together big ideas an complex arguments. Originally titled “Lacuna Stories,” we’ve since adopted the shorter and snippier “Lacuna.”

I am a researcher of digital humanities or learning sciences. Any chance we can collaborate?

Yes! We are already collaborating with different researchers interested in annotation, learning sciences, and designing new platforms for collaborative teaching or research. Please use the contact form to let us know how you think we can all benefit from working together!

My instructor is using Lacuna for my class. How can I create an account or login?

Each institution has its own url for Lacuna and hosts the software itself. Stanford students, for instance, go to, whereas Dartmouth students go to Find out from your instructor which url to use to get to your individual institution’s login page.

Have more questions? Check out our Knowledge Base for instructor materials, sample assignments, help on setting up your course and digitizing materials for Lacuna.