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School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering

Multi-Media Broker

Staff and funding

Principal investigator: Prof Alistair Sutcliffe (Now at UMIST)

Research staff: Michelle Ryan and Mark Ennis

Project description

The Multi-Media Broker project integrated information retrieval and internet technologies, and developed broker support services to enable authors to find resources for multimedia publishing. The resulting Broker system supports multimedia authors with technology advice, production services and resource searching/retrieval tools.

A range of facilities were developed to enhance users' ability to find and re-use information across delivery platforms. The ability to incorporate new information quickly and seamlessly is a key competitive advantage for designers of kiosk applications and advertising material. Continuing technology support, access to best practice guidelines and criteria for selecting between technical options now help clients produce and manage distributed multimedia assets.

The Multi-Media Broker provides a set of service oriented tools structured around broker and supplier server nodes with client outstations, including:

- Search and retrieval services including conceptual maps of media resources and query facilities;
- Brokering/negotiation support, covering assistance in refining client needs, advice on available resources, and matching between the two;
- Trade off and negotiation support, including costing, copyright clearance, etc.;
- Billing and payment services;
- Resources registration and description services for suppliers;

The Centre provided usability evaluation and software development for the Multi-Media Broker tools. It was involved in enhancing tools produced in the Esprit INTUITIVE project for information retrieval. Navigator tools with conceptual maps of media resources were constructed using 3D graphics to provide virtual reality like walkthroughs of resource spaces. Various types of query support were developed ranging from pre-formed queries, query reuse tools, assistance for building new queries and clarification dialogues to help users refine their needs.