MPEG-7 - Tamino's potential as a multimedia repository

This is just a “heads-up” on an emerging area of XML technology that may interest Tamino developers and users.

MPEG is a widely supported standard for the exchange of multimedia presentations. MPEG-1 describes stored audio and visual content, MPEG-2 describes streaming digital video, and MPEG-4 enables collections of multimedia objects to be combined. One of the biggest challenges faced by multimedia users is FINDING desired information in the large, binary files that contain multimedia content. Text files can be automatically indexed and located by systems such as AltaVista and Google, but these search engines have little ability to handle graphical and audio data formats. MPEG-7, due to become an international standard in late 2001, will use XML to describe the data in a way that facilitates browsing and querying for relevant content.

Neil Day, one of the developers of the MPEG-7 specification, says:

The advantage of using MPEG-7 is that is provides a
comprehensive set of tools for describing semantic (Title, who, what
when, where, Catalog etc. ) and structural (color, edges, texures,
object shapes, object motion using mathematical models)
features of content. In creative hands, a new world of applications
is possible based on open standard technology

This offers some fascinating possibilities for employing Tamino in a multimedia repository or content management system. The developers of MPEG-7 envision being able to whistle a or sketch a picture, have some sophisticated front-end program capture that information as an XML query, and retrieve the matching content from a MPEG-7 repository. Obviously Tamino itself will not have these capabilities, but could become a critical component of such a system by means of its ability to store, index, and query complex XML content in all its richness.

This illustrates what may be the beginning of a trend: XML is being used more and more to describe complex types of data consisting of text, “data”, and multimedia content – for example healthcare records containing X-Ray and other images) or software or hardware designs with textual specifications, graphical designs or blueprints, actual code. We should see even greater advantages of storing this type of complex XML data in a native XML database such as Tamino rather than trying to normalize them into useful combinations of tables and blobs for storage in an RDBMS

For more information, see a recent
XML Journal article on MPEG-7