As more and more audiovisual information becomes available from many sources around the world, many people would like to use this information for various purposes. This challenging situation led to the need for a solution that quickly and efficiently searches for and/or filters various types of multimedia material that's interesting to the user.
For example, finding information by rich-spoken queries, hand-drawn images, and humming improves the user-friendliness of computer systems and finally addresses what most people have been expecting from computers. For professionals, a new generation of applications will enable high-quality information search and retrieval.
For example, TV program producers can search with "laser-like precision" for occurrences of famous events or references to certain people, stored in thousands of hours of audiovisual records, in order to collect material for a program. This will reduce program production time and increase the quality of its content.
MPEG-7 is a multimedia content description standard, (to be defined by September 2001), that addresses how humans expect to interact with computer systems, since it develops rich descriptions that reflect those expectations.
The Moving Pictures Experts Group abbreviated MPEG is part of the International Standards Organization (ISO), and defines standards for digital video and digital audio. The primal task of this group was to develop a format to play back video and audio in real time from a CD. Meanwhile the demands have raised and beside the CD the DVD needs to be supported as well as transmission equipment like satellites and networks. All this operational uses are covered by a broad selection of standards. Well known are the standards MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and MPEG-7.
Each standard provides levels and profiles to support special applications in an optimized way.
It's clearly much more fun to develop multimedia content than to index it. The amount of multimedia content available -- in digital archives, on the World Wide Web, in broadcast data streams and in personal and professional databases -- is growing out of control. But this enthusiasm has led to increasing difficulties in accessing, identifying and managing such resources due to their volume and complexity and a lack of adequate indexing standards. The large number of recently funded DLI-2 projects related to the resource discovery of different media types, including music, speech, video and images, indicates an acknowledgement of this problem and the importance of this field of research for digital libraries.
MPEG-7 is being developed by the Moving Pictures Expert Group (MPEG) a working group of ISO/IEC. Unlike the preceding MPEG standards (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4) which have mainly addressed coded representation of audio-visual content, MPEG-7 focuses on representing information about the content, not the content itself.
The goal of the MPEG-7 standard, formally called the "Multimedia Content Description Interface", is to provide a rich set of standardized tools to describe multimedia content.