A system and method for providing annotation overlays from diverse sources of commentary for World-Wide Web documents is disclosed. Sources of commentary contribute annotation overlays regarding particular documents on the World-Wide Web. The annotation overlays from a particular source are stored on one or more overlay servers, which are connected to the Web. A user of a Web browser opens an annotation proxy server between the Web browser and the Web servers that intercepts all documents retrieved by the Web browser and merges with the retrieved documents commentary from sources designated by the user of the Web browser that refer to the requested documents. Multiple annotation overlay proxies can be serially connected. The annotation proxy can perform the merge operation by first creating a local annotation directory of annotation overlays from sources designated by the user then, when the user requests a document, merging with the requested document information only from the annotation directory. Alternatively, the annotation proxy can perform the merge operation on the fly by pulling the annotation overlays directly from the Web servers without the use of a local annotation directory.