CHAPTER - 3 MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY: AN INTRODUCTION The objective of this chapter is to present a detailed account of multimedia technology. The chapte...
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CHAPTER - 3 MULTIMEDIA TECHNOLOGY: AN INTRODUCTION The objective of this chapter is to present a detailed account of multimedia technology. The chapter commences with multimedia technology, its definitions, genesis, components etc. It provides an overview of multimedia production, and its application in various fields including libraries and information centers.

Computer technology has revolutionized the production of information in the second half of the twentieth century. The traditional personal computers have been text or data oriented until 1980s but after eighties a graphical environment started. During1990‟s the power of information processing and handling different media increased enormously and personal computers got evolved as multimedia machines and the era of multimedia technology emerged (Ramaiah, 1998). It has been said by computer technology research reports 1993, that people retain only 20 percent of what they see and 30 percent of what they hear. But they remember 50 percent of what they see and hear (Keyas, 1994). Multimedia technologies enable the users to integrate and manipulate data from diverse sources such as video, images, graphics, animation, audio and text on a single hardware platform. Now multimedia has become the latest cultural phenomena in the information sector. The rapid ascent of multimedia technology over the last decade has brought about fundamental changes to computing, entertainment and education. The exponential growth of multimedia technologies and applications has presented the computerized society with opportunities and challenges that in many cases are unprecedented. It is becoming more and more popular because of the effectiveness of its applications in all aspects of human life. Multimedia applications have progressed to the point of sparking a fundamental paradigm shift in the very concept of information transfer and presentation.


3.1 Multimedia: Definition The term multimedia constituents of two words, „multi‟ and „medium‟. Multi refers to many i.e. at least two. Media is the plural of medium. Medium refers to storage, transmission, communication, representation, presentation, input interaction and perception, meaning that it can refer to different level of abstraction. It also refers to a basic information type like text, graphics, images, audio, animation, video etc. Therefore multimedia is as an integration of many types of media (i.e. text, graphics, images, audio, animation, video etc) on a single medium in the same information unit. The Columbia Encyclopaedia has defined multimedia as “in personal computing, software and applications that combines text, high quality sound, two and three dimensional graphics, animation, images, and full motion video.” (Lagasse, 2000). According to Vaughan “multimedia is any combination of text, sound, animation and video delivered by computer or other electronic or digitally manipulated means. It is a woven combination of digitally manipulated text, photographs, graphic art, sound, animation, and video elements.” (Vaughan, 2008). Newton defines multimedia as “the combination of different types of media in the communication of information between two users and their computers. The format in which the information for communication exists differs, but it usually includes voice communication, sound processing and image processing. Multimedia means that convergence of the technologies from the different industries into a communication medium that presents the synthesis of interactive computers, highly fidelity video and sound. Multimedia is thus the combination of standard data processing with text, graphics, animation, sound and video” (Newton, 1998). Dahmer defines the term as “something that combines the capabilities of technologies that used to be separate - it can combine things like text,


graphics, sounds and still or motion pictures in a smooth way to present information. Print, telecommunications, video, broadcasting and computers have merged and the result is what we now call multimedia” (Dahmer, 1993). The simultaneous use of two or more different forms of media (text, graphics, animation, sound and video) for effective information communication is referred as multimedia. Graphics and sound, digital or analog video, animations, hypermedia, interactivity, computer games, virtual reality, electronic books, CD-ROM, HDTV, telecommunications and many others have all been terms associated with the definition of multimedia at one time or another (Stubley, 1994). Multimedia is a technology engaging a variety of media including text, audio, video, graphics and animation either separately or in combination, using computers to communicate ideas or to disseminate information.

3.2 Genesis of Multimedia The genesis of multimedia can be traced back from some notable inventions. The invention of printing press in 1450 by Gutenberg brought a revolution in the growth of recorded knowledge. Radio transmission was invented by G. Marconi in 1885, and he detected radio waves beamed across the Atlantic in 1901, which is now a major medium for audio broadcasting. In the area of still pictures, the evolution of microfilm was in 1839 and negative film in 1841. Photography came into existence in 1851. Moving pictures i.e. cinematographic film was invented in 1870. Sound recording discs came into existence in 1877 and magnetic tape-recorder in 1898. Sound tape was used first time in the year 1899. In 1908, video tape and Television were invented. Electronic camera was invented in 1934 (Taylor, 1982). Evolution of microcomputers in 1945 had made revolution in the field of computer technology. Optical storage system was evolved in 1985, and it is notable in this regard (Vaughan, 2008). Television was the new media for


twentieth century, it brought the video and has changed the world of mass communication. Origin of multimedia is frequently connected with the emergence of Memex. Memex is a mechanical device designed by Bush in 1945 for storing, organizing and retrieving information in the form of text and graphics (Bush, 1945). Doug Englebert, in 1962, designed a system called NLS (oN Line System) which had interactive multi-user editing and branching of different files and texts having searching facility (Engelbart, 1993). In 1965, Theodor Nelson had designed a system named as hypertext in 1965, which was based on the concept of Memex (Nelson, 1965). Hypertext means a non sequential reading and writing, allowing authors to link information, create paths through a corpus of related material, annotate existing text, create notes and points readers to either bibliographical data or the body of the referenced text. It is text in electronic form that take advantage of the interactive capabilities (Conklin, 1987). When text is stored in a computer, the computer‟s powerful processing capabilities can be applied to make the text more accessible and meaningful. The text can then be called hypertext, because the words, sections and thoughts are linked. The user can navigate through text in a nonlinear way, quickly and intuitively. Hypertext systems are currently used for electronic publishing and reference works, technical documentation, educational courseware, interactive kiosks, electronic catalogues, interactive fiction, text and image databases. Another development in this field is hypermedia. A multimedia program developed in a hypertext environment is hypermedia. It is simply the extension of hypertext that incorporates other media elements in addition to text. With hypermedia systems, author can create linked corps of materials that include text, static and animated graphics, video, sound, music etc. (Yankelovich, Haan, Meyrowit & Drucker, 1988). The basic difference between hypermedia and multimedia is in the organization and the linkages of the information fragments. The information fragments in the multimedia are organized linearly 79

whereas in hypermedia, these are organized non-linearly with links to each other (Ramaiah, 1992). Theodor Nelson started another project named as XANDU in 1960s, a global literary system aimed as instantaneous repository and delivery system for the published works like text, graphics, audio, video etc., so that any user may rapidly get any frame or whole work (Nelson, 1980; Gregory, 1983). In late 1970s, Van Dam designed a File Retrieving and Editing SyStem (FRESS) by incorporating the best ideas of Engelbart‟s NLS (oN Line System) and Hypertext Editing System (Van Dam, 1971). This was followed by another system INTERMEDIA, designed by Meyrowitz at Brown University for conducting research on use of hypertext in teaching (Yankelovich et al., 1988). At the start of 1990s multimedia was meant as combination of text with document images (Andleigh & Thakrar, 2003). Multimedia technology got revolutionized with the introduction of Internet. In 1991, Tim Berner Lee developed a global hypertext project known as World Wide Web designed to allow people to work together by combining their knowledge in a web of hypertext documents. He is the primary inventor of the World Wide Web and HTML, the system of text links and multimedia capabilities that made the Internet accessible to mass audiences (Berner-Lee, n.d.). In twenty-first century multimedia is used on internet for various multimedia applications. Now most of the websites on internet have multimedia capabilities. Multimedia blogs, audio and video archives, podcasts, multimedia galleries, webcasts, multimedia in social networking websites etc are today‟s common applications of multimedia on internet.

3.3 Components of Multimedia There are five components of multimedia i.e. text, sound, images, animation and video. These are explained in detail as under (Vaughan, 2008).


3.3.1 Text Text or written language is the most common way of communicating information. It is one of the basic components of multimedia. It was originally defined by printed media such as books and newspapers that used various typefaces to display the alphabet, numbers, and special characters. Although multimedia products include pictures, audio and video, text may be the most common data type found in multimedia applications. Besides this, text also provides opportunities to extend the traditional power of text by linking it to other media, thus making it an interactive medium. (i) Static Text In static text, the words are laid out to fit in well with the graphical surroundings. The words are built into the graphics just like the graphics and explanation given in the pages of the book, the information is well laid out and easy to read. The learners are able to look at the pictures and read the textual information, as they are available on the similar screen (Kindersley, 1996). (ii) Hypertext A hypertext system consists of nodes. It contains the text and links between the nodes, which define the paths the user can follow to access the text in non-sequential ways. The links represent associations of meaning and can be thought of as cross-references. This structure is created by the author of the system, although in more sophisticated hypertext systems the user is able to define their own paths. The hypertext provides the user with the flexibility and choice to navigate through the material. Text should be used to convey imperative information and should be positioned at appropriate place in a multimedia product. Well-formatted sentences and paragraphs are vital factors, spacing and punctuation also affects the readability of the text. Fonts and styles should be used to improve the communication of the message more appropriately.


3.3.2 Image Images are an important component of multimedia. These are generated by the computer in two ways, as bitmap or raster images and as vector images. (i) Raster or Bitmap Images The most common and comprehensive form of storage for images on a computer is a raster or bitmap image. Bitmap is a simple matrix of the tiny dots called pixel that forms a raster or bitmap image (Vaughan, 2008). Each pixel consists of two or more colours. The colour depth is determined by how much data, in bits is used to determine the number of colours e.g. one bit is two colours, four bits means sixteen colours, eight bits indicates 256 colours, 16 bits yields 65,536 colours and so on. Depending on the hardware capabilities, each point can display from two to millions of colours. Comprehensive image means that an image looks as much as possible like the real word or original product. This means that the proportion, size, colour, and texture must be as accurate as possible. Bitmap formats are Windows Bitmap (BMP), Device Independent Bitmap (DIB), and Windows Run Length Encoded (RLE) (Hillman, 1998). (ii) Vector Images Vector images base on drawing elements or objects such as lines, rectangles, circles and so forth to create an image. The advantage of vector image is the relatively small amount of data required to represent the image and therefore, it does not requires a lot of memory to store. The image consists of a set of commands that are drawn when needed. A bitmap image requires the number of pixels to produce appropriate height, width and colour depth, the vector image is based on a relatively limited number of drawing commands. The falls drop of vector images is the limited level of detail that can be presented in an image (Hillman, 1998). Mostly used vector format is Windows metfile in windows operating system.


Compression techniques are used to reduce the file size of images that is useful for storing large number of images and speeding transmission for networked application. Compression formats used for this purpose are GIF, TIFF and JPEG. 3.3.3 Animation Animation consists of still images displayed so quickly that they give the impression of continuous movement. The screen object is a vector image in animation. The movement of that image along paths is calculated using numerical transformations applied to their defining coordinates. To give the impression of smoothness the frame rate has to be at least 16 frames per second, and for natural looking motion it should be at least 25 frames per second. Animations may be two or three dimensional. In two dimensional animation the visual changes that bring an image alive occur on the flat X and Y axis of the screen, while in three dimensional animation it occurs along the entire three axis X, Y and Z showing the image from all the angles. Such animations are typically rendered frame by high-end three dimensional animation softwares. Animation tools are very powerful and effective. There are two basic types of animations, path animation and frame animation. (i) Path Animation Path animations involve moving an object on a screen that has a constant background e.g. a cartoon character may move across the screen regardless any change in the background or the character. (ii) Frame Animation In frame animations, several objects are allowed to move simultaneously and the objects or the background can also change. The moving objects are one of the most appropriate tools to enhance understanding, as they allow the learner to see the demonstration of changes, processes and procedures (Earnshaw & Vince, 1995). Animation uses very little memory in comparison to digital video as it consists of drawing and 83

moving instructions. Animation is very useful for such multimedia applications where moving visuals are required, but where digital video may be unsuitable, unnecessary, or too expensive in terms of disc space or memory. 3.3.4 Sound Sound is probably the most sensuous element of multimedia. It is meaningful speech in any language, from a whisper to a scream. It can provide the listening pleasure of music, the startling accent of special effects, or the ambience of a mood setting background. It can promote an artist, add interest to a text site by humanizing the author, or to teach pronouncing words in another language. Sound pressure level (volume) is measured in decibels, which is actually the ratio between a chosen reference point on a logarithmic scale and the level that is actually experienced. (i) Musical Instrument Digital Identifier (MIDI) Musical Instrument Digital Identifier (MIDI) is a communication standard developed in the early 1980s for electronic musical instruments and computers. It is the short hand representation of music stored in numeric form. MIDI is the quickest, easiest and most flexible tool for composing original score in a multimedia project. To make MIDI scores sequencer, software and sound synthesizer is needed. A MIDI keyboard is also useful for simplifying the creation of musical scores. Its quality depends upon the quality of musical instruments and the capabilities of sound system. It is device dependent (Vaughan, 2008). (ii) Digital Audio Digitised sound is sampled sound. The every nth fraction of a second, a sample of sound is taken and stored as digital information in bits and bytes. The quality of this digital recording depends upon how often the samples are taken (sampling rate) and how many numbers are used to represent the value of each sample (bit depth, sample size, resolution). The more often the sample is taken and the more data is stored about that sample, the finer the resolution and


quality of the captured sound when it is played back (Vaughan, 2008). The quality of digital audio also relies on the quality of the original audio source, capture devices, supporting software and the capability of playback environment. The main benefit of audio is that it provides a channel that is separate from that of the display (Nielson, 1995). Sound plays a major role in multimedia applications, but there is a very fine balance between getting it right and overdoing it (Philips, 1997). Multimedia products benefit from digital audio as informational content such as a speech or voice-over and as special effects to indicate that a program is executing various actions such as jumping to new screens. The three sampling frequencies used in multimedia are CDquality 44.1 kHz, 22.05 kHz and 11.025 kHz. Digital audio plays a key role in digital video. 3.3.5 Video Video is defined as the display of recorded real events on a television type screen. The embedding of video in multimedia applications is a powerful way to convey information. It can incorporate a personal element, which other media lack. The personality of the presenter can be displayed in a video (Philips, 1997). The video may be categorised in two types, analog video and digital video. (i) Analog Video Analog video is the video data that is stored in any non-computer media like videotape, laserdisc, film etc. It is further divided in two types, composite and component analogue video. Composite Analog Video has all the video components including brightness, colour, and synchronization, combined into one signal. Due to the composition or combining of the video components, the quality of the composite video is resulted as colour bleeding, low clarity and high generational loss (Hillman, 1998). Generational loss means the loss of quality


when the master is copied to edit or for other purpose. This recording format was used for customer analog video recording tape formats (such as Betamax and VHS) and was never adequate for most multimedia presentations (Vaughan, 2008). Composite video is also susceptible to quality loss from one generation to other. Component analog video is considered more advanced than composite video. It takes different components of video such as colour, brightness and synchronization and breaks them into separate signals (Hillman, 1998). S-VHS and Hi-8 are examples of this type of analog video in which colour and brightness, information are stored on two separate tracks. In early 1980s, Sony has launched a new portable, professional video format „Betacam‟ in which signals are stored on three separate tracks (Vaughan, 2008). There are certain analogue broadcast video standards commonly used round the globe. These are National Television Standard Committee (NTSC), Phase Alternate Line (PAL), Sequential Colour with Memory (SECAM) and HDTV. In the United States, Canada, Japan NTSC standard is used, while in United Kingdom, China, South Africa PAL is used. SECAM is used in France. A new standard has been developed known as High Definition Television (HDTV) which bears better image and colour quality in comparison to other standards. (ii) Digital Video It is the most engaging of multimedia venues, and it is a powerful tool for bringing computer users closer to the real world (Vaughan, 2008). Digital video is storage intensive. A high quality colour still image on a computer screen requires one megabyte or more of storage memory. To provide the appearance of motion, picture should be replaced by at least thirty times per second and the storage memory required is at least thirty megabyte for one second of video. The more times the picture is replaced, the better is the quality of video.


Video requires high bandwidth to deliver data in networked environment. This overwhelming technological bottleneck is overcome using digital video compression schemes. There are video compression standards as MPEG, JPEG, Cinepak and Sorenson. In addition to compressing video data, streaming technologies such as Adobe Flash, Microsoft Windows Media, QuickTime and Real Player are being implemented to provide reasonable quality low bandwidth video on the web. QuickTime and Real Video are the most commonly used for wide spread distribution. Digital video formats can be divided into two categories, composite video and component video. Composite digital recording formats encode the information in binary (0‟s and 1‟s) digital code. It retains some of weakness of analogue composite video like colour and image resolution and the generation loss when copies are made. Component digital is the uncompressed format having very high image quality. It is highly expensive. Some popular formats in this category are „Digital Bitacam‟ and D-5 developed in 1994 and DVCAM developed in 1996. There are certain standards for digital display of video i.e. Advanced Television System Committee (ATSC), Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB), and Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting (ISBD). ATSC is the digital television standard for the United States, Canada and South Korea, DVB is used commonly in Europe and ISBD is used in Japan to allow the radio and television stations to convert into digital format (Molina & Villamil, 1998). Video can be used in many applications. Motion pictures enhance comprehension only if they match the explanation. For example, if we want to show the dance steps used in different cultures, video is easier and more effective than to use any graphics or animation (Thibodeau, 1997).


3.4 Production of Multimedia Resources 3.4.1 Infrastructure Multimedia resources are based on the ability of the computer to capture, process, and present text, pictures, audio and video. Selection of proper hardware, software and file format for developing multimedia product is based on the budget and type of content in the product and delivery requirements. Following is a description of infrastructure requirement for producing multimedia resources. Hardware Requirement The special hardware requirement can be described in four categories i. e. Input devices, Output devices, Storage devices and Communication devices. (i) Input Devices Input devices usually used for the production of multimedia resources are as follows. (a) Keyboard A keyboard is the most common method of interaction with a computer. The most common keyboard for PCs is the 101 style, although many styles are available with more or fewer special keys, LEDs, and other features. (b) Mouse A mouse is the standard tool for interacting with a graphic user interface. The buttons on the mouse provide additional user input, such as pointing and double-clicking to open a document, or the click and drag operation, or to move to and select an item on a pull down menu, to access context sensitive help. (c) Touch screen Touch screens are monitors that usually have a textured coating across the glass face. This coating is sensitive to pressure and registers the location of the user‟s finger when it touches the screen initiative to pressure and registers 88

the location of the user‟s finger when it touches the screen. Touch screens are excellent for applications in a kiosk, at a trade show or in a museum delivery system. (d) Scanner Scanner is the most useful equipment used in a multimedia project. It may be flat bed, hand held and drum scanners. The most commonly used scanner for multimedia application is colour flatbed scanners that provide resolute of 600 dots per inch (dpi) or better. (e) Optical Character Recognition Device After scanning, a document can be converted into a word processing document on the computer without retyping or rekeying, with the help of OCR system. OCR system uses a combination of hardware and software to recognise characters. Some examples of OCRs are omni page from Scansoft, Recore from Maxsoft-Ocron. The OCR terminal can be of use to a multimedia developer because it recognizes not only printed characters but also handwriting. This facility may be beneficial at a kiosk or in general education environment where user friendliness is a goal, because there are growing demand for a more personal and less technical interface to data and information. (f) Voice Recognition System Voice Recognition systems can be used for the hands-free interaction with the computer. These behavioural biometric systems usually provide a unidirectional cardioid, noise cancelling microphone that automatically filters out background noise and learn to recognize voice prints. These systems can trigger common menu events such as save, open, quite, print and other commands that are more specific to the application. (g) Digital Camera and Video Camera Digital cameras capture the still image or video of a given number of pixels (resolution) and the images are stored in the camera‟s memory to be uploaded later to a computer. The resolution of digital camera is determined by


megapixel rating. Video camera is a camera capable of recording live motion video with audio for later display. Data may be uploaded from the camera‟s memory using a USB cable connected to the computer. (ii) Output Devices Following is a brief description of output devices used in a multimedia project. (a) Monitors The monitors for a multimedia application must be high-end, large screen graphics monitor and liquid crystal display. Serious multimedia developers often attach more than one monitor to their computer, using add-on graphics boards. This is because many authoring systems allow working with several open windows at a time. So one monitor may be dedicated to view the work the developer is designing, and editing tasks can be performed in windows on other monitors that do not block the view of the work. (b) Audio devices All the computers are equipped with an internal speaker and a dedicated sound chip, and they do are capable of audio without additional hardware. To abate advantages of inbuilt stereo sound external speakers are required. Altec Lansing‟s three piece amplified speaker system is designed for multimedia applications. (c) Video devices Video display devices, often called graphics adapters, enable the computer to present information on monitors capable of displaying up to 16 million colours. Television pictures can be displayed on the computer by installing a video digitizing board. (d) Projectors Projector is required to show the presentation to large number of viewers. Cathode ray tube projectors, liquid crystal display, digital high


processing projectors, and liquid crystal on silicon projectors may be used for the multimedia applications.\ (e) Printers With the advent of reasonably priced colour printers, a hard copy output has entered the multimedia scene. Many printers are available in the market i.e. laser printer, solid-ink printer, dye-sublimation printer, liquid inkjet printer and printers based on toner technology. Laser printers are the best in terms of quality output. (iii) Storage Devices Multimedia data requires very high storage capacity. The storage devices used are given as follows. (a) RAM The Random Access Memory should be very good for graphics, audio and video production and writing multimedia products. Graphics memory also called VRAM (Video random access memory) for high resolution colour display may be used. (b) Hard Disc There should be relatively fast hard drive systems for processing graphics, audio and video. Now fast, less expensive and large capacity HDD are available in the market. 120GB Hard disc is recommended for multimedia production. (c) Magnetic Tapes It is a plastic ribbon which is usually ½ inch or ¼ inch wide, and 50 to 2400 feet long. Data are recorded on the tape in the form of tiny invisible magnetised and non-magnetised spots on the coated surface of the tape. The tape ribbon is itself stored in reels or in small cartridge or cassette. Four mm digital audio tape is most widely used type of magnetic tape in multimedia


applications. It uses a tape ribbon of 4mm and 60 or 90 meters long enclosed in a cartridge. (d) Magnetic Disc Magnetic disc is a thin plate made of plastic usually coated on both sides with a magnetisable recording material. The information written on it can be erased or reused indefinitely. The information stored can be read many times, without affecting its quality. Floppy disc and hard disc are examples of magnetic disc. Most popular magnetic discs used in multimedia application are Zip disc, Jaz disc, super disc etc. (e) Optical Disc Optical discs can store extremely large amount of data in a limited space. An optical-disc storage system consists of a rotating disc, which is coated with a thin metal or some other material that is highly reflective. Laser beam technology is used for recording and reading data on the disc. These are also called laserdiscs. It is found in the form of CD-R, CD-RW, and DVD. CDR is Compact Disc Recordable., CD- RW is Compact Disc Rewritable, and DVD is Digital Video Disc. There are three types of DVD, DVD-RW, DVDVideo and DVD-ROM. CDs and DVDs are the best for multimedia storage because of its huge storage capacity. (f) Pen Drive and External Hard Disc The latest development in storage is the evolution of pen-drive and external hard-disc. (iv) Communication Devices Multimedia data file size, especially for graphics, audio and video are quite large. Therefore the key issue for multimedia communication is bandwidth. Band width is the amount of information that can be transmitted across a network of computers within a stipulated period of time. It is measured in kilobits per second (kbps) or megabits per second (mbps). Communication systems have created two classes of multimedia products, synchronous or real 92

time and asynchronous. Synchronous applications are able to transmit and receive data in real time allowing the end user to view or hear data as it is being captured or created. Asynchronous applications use a store and forward method in which data is transmitted and stored for future. Primary communication devices for multimedia are as under (Hillman, 1998). (a) Modem Modem modulates and de-modulates analog signals. The modem speed is the most important consideration in communicating multimedia files. These files contain the graphics, audio and video and usually it is needed to move as much data as possible in a short time. Today‟s standards dictate at least a 56 kbps modem. Compression saves significant transmission time and cost over long distance. Fifty six kbps V.90 depends on hardware based compression algorithm to crunch the data before sending it and decompressing it upon arrival at the receiving end (Vaughan, 2008). (b) Network Devices For higher transmission speed by telephone Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) is recommended for multimedia. ISDN lines offer a 128 kbps data transfer rate. These are used for internet access, networking and audio and video conferencing. Now a faster technology known as DSL technology using a dedicated line has overtaken ISDN in popularity. As there are so many variables in selecting hardware for a multimedia platform, a group of companies formed an organization called the Multimedia PC Marketing Council (MPC) in 1990 to set minimum standards for multimedia hardware. MPC Level-1 published in 1990 dictated that a system is considered as Level 1 system with configuration as 16 MHZ 386SX or compatible microprocessor, 2 MB of RAM, 30 MB Hard disc, 3.5-inch highdensity Discette drive, single speed CD-ROM drive with a 150 KB per second data transfer rate, 8-bit soundboard, VGA compatible display adapter, Colour VGA compatible monitor, 101 key keyboard, two-button mouse, standard


serial and parallel ports, MIDI port, joystick port and support for either Microsoft Windows version 3.0, with multimedia extensions, or for Windows version 3.1. These standards were updated in 1993 with Level-2 specifications, and again updated in 1995 as MPC-3. The MPC-3 standard delineates the specifications for multimedia as 75 MHz Pentium Processor, 8 MB RAM, 540 MB Hard disc, 3.5-inch high-density Discette drive, Quad speed CD-ROM drive with a 600 KB per-second data transfer rate, 16-bit, wave-table, MIDI sound card, MPEG-1 hardware and software capable of 30 frames per second, 352 by 240 pixels, 15 bits per pixel (Vaughan, 2008). Current machines have surpassed even this level, with storage space now measured in terabytes standard on most PCs, RAM in gigabytes, and up to a 200 MHz processor speed on the Pentium chip. Software Requirement Multimedia softwares are authoring tools, which provide an important framework for organizing and editing the elements of multimedia including graphics, sound, animation and video. Tools for authoring and programming in multimedia






CourseBuilder, Flash, Supercard, Hypercard, and Film Maker etc. A brief description of some of the authoring softwares are as follows. (i) Adobe Director It is a software tool for multimedia authoring. The software is used to create interactive games, interactive learning materials, applications, kiosks, DVDs, CDs and the web. (ii) CREATE Together This is a multimedia environment that integrates creation, collaboration, communication, problem solving, and publishing in one seamless tool. It can be used to create animated games, randomly generated puzzles, interactive


simulations, searchable multimedia databases, hyperlinked presentations, training materials. (iii) MediaBlender It is a multimedia authoring package which allows users to create their multimedia projects, helping them organize and communicate information and ideas using a wide variety of media. MediaBlender can be accessed from any computer with internet access. Also the software can be hosted on any server for better performance, and load a stand-alone application on computer for use without an Internet connection in client-server mode. (iv) MediaWorks 6.2 MediaWorks combines simple-to-use video, sound, animation and paint editors with a powerful multimedia authoring program. It can easily create amazing movie-type productions that are difficult or not possible in other consumer-level movie and slide show editors, and precisely-timed linear and interactive presentations without the learning curve and expense of high-end media editing and authoring tools. (v) PlayMo PlayMo is an authoring tool that allows the creation of highly interactive rich media content from a wide range of source files such as still images, video clips, audio clips, 3D models, CAD models and more. PlayMo's intuitive WYSIWYG editing functions make it easy to embed complex interactivity into models to accurately recreate the functionality of real-world objects, requiring no coding. (vi) Multimedia Builder It is a multimedia authoring system that allows to create autorun CD menus, multimedia applications on CD-ROM, demos, kiosks, Computer based training, presentations, MP3 players etc.

95 File Formats for Multimedia The following is an outline of current file formats used for the production and delivery of multimedia. (i) Text Formats (a) RTF (Rich Text Format)

RTF is a proprietary document file format with published specification developed by Microsoft Corporation in 1987 for Microsoft products and for cross-platform document interchange. (b) Plain text

Plain text files can be opened, read, and edited with most text editors. Examples include Notepad (Windows), edit (DOS), ed, emacs, vi, vim, Gedit or nano (Unix, Linux), SimpleText (Mac OS), or TextEdit (Mac OS X). Other computer programs are also capable of reading and importing plain text. Plain text is the original and ever popular method of conveying e-mail. HTML formatted e-mail messages often include an automatically-generated plain text copy as well, for compatibility reasons. (ii) Image Formats (a) TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)

This format is common in desktop publishing world, and almost all software packages support it. Recent versions of TIFF allow for image compression, and the format is handy for moving large files between computers. (b) BMP (Bitmap)

This format came into use with Windows 3.1. It is uncompressed and can be quite large. For this reason, BMP is seldom used for the large or highresolution images.


(c) DIB (Device Independent Bitmap)

This format is similar to BMP, allows files to be displayed on a variety of devices. (d) GIF (Graphics Interchange format)

GIF is a compressed image format developed by CompuServe, an online information service. Most computer colour images and backgrounds are GIF files. This compact file format is ideal for graphics that use only few colours, and it was once the most popular format for online colour photos. The GIF format uses an 8-bit Colour Look Up Table to identify its colour values. This format is widely supported by several shareware viewers and converters. (e) JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

This format was designed for maximum image compression. JPEG uses loosy compression, which refers to a compression scheme that actually looses some of the data needed to reconstruct the image. It works well on photographs, naturalistic artwork, and similar material but does not work well on lettering, simple cartoons, or live drawings. The rationale behind loosy compression is that the human eye does not miss the lost information. (f) TGA (Tagra)

This was the first popular format for high-resolution images. The name comes from the original Targa board, the first true-colour video board. Most video-capture boards support TGA, as do most high-end paint programs. (g) PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

An extensible file format for the loss less, portable, well compressed storage of raster images. PNG provides a patent free replacement for GIF and can also replace many common uses of TIFF. PNG is designed to work well in online viewing applications, such as the worldwide web, so it is fully streamable with a progressive display option.


(iii) Digital Audio File Formats (a) WAV (Waveform Audio File Format)

The most popular audio file format used mainly in windows for storing uncompressed sound files. It can be converted to other file formats like MP3to reduce the file size. (b) MP3 (MPEG Layer-3 Format)

MPEG Layer-3 format is the most popular format downloading and storing music. The MP3 files are compressed to roughly one-tenth the size of an equivalent WAV file. (c) OGG

A free, open source container format that can be compared to MP3 files in terms of quality. (d) AU

It is a standard audio file format used by Sun, Unix and Java. The audio in AU file format can be compressed. (e) AIFF (Audio Interchange File Format)

A standard audio file format used by Apple which is like a WAV file for the Mac. (f) WMA (Windows Media Audio)

It is a popular windows media audio format owned by Microsoft and designed with Digital Right Management (DRM) abilities for copy protection. (g) RA (Real Audio Format)

Real Audio format is designed for streaming audio over the Internet. The digital audio resources are usually stored as a computer file in computer‟s hard drive or CD-Rom or DVD. There are multitudes of audio file formats, but the most common formats are wave files (.WAV) and MPEG Layer-3 files (.MP3), WMA and RA. Following are the commonly used digital audio file formats (Rajashekharan & Nafala, 2009). 98

(iv) Digital Video File Formats (a) AVI (Audio/Video Interleave)

AVI is the file format used by Video for Windows, one of three video technologies used on personal computers. In AVI, picture and sound elements are stored in alternate interleaved chunks in the file. (b) MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group)

MPEG is a group of people that meet under the International Standards Organization (ISO) to generate standards for digital video and audio compression. Established in 1988, the group has produced MPEG-1, the standard on which Video CD and MP3 are based, MPEG-2, the standard on which such products as Digital Television set top boxes and DVD are based, MPEG-4, the standard for multimedia for the fixed and mobile web and MPEG-7, the standard for description and search of audio and visual content. Work on the new standard MPEG-21 "Multimedia Framework" has started in June2000. Technically speaking MPEG is not a storage format but standards for digital video and audio compression. A video file format is a standard for encoding digital video, audio and some auxiliary information into a file. In contrast to audio and image formats, most video file formats allow a variety of codecs, both audio and video to be used (Pathak, 2006). 3.4.2 Steps in Multimedia Production Multimedia production requires a significant amount of time and careful planning. Adequate planning assures that the project will proceed smoothly and follow a reasonably designed schedule for completion and will certainly communicate the information to the target audience. For the development of complex multimedia projects, there are following phases (Vaughan, 2008) (i) Conceptual Analysis and Planning The process of making multimedia starts with a vision, high site or an idea, which is the conceptual ignition point. Conceptual analysis involves 99

identifying a relevant theme, budget and checking the availability of content on that particular theme. Other criterion like how amenable is the content to the multimedia treatment and issues like copyright are also considered in conceptual analysis. Based on the available budget the theme should be finalized and a thorough planning should be made. (ii) Project design After finalizing the theme, specific goals, objectives and activities are to be laid down for the multimedia project. Goals are general statements, while objectives are specific statements of the anticipated project outcomes. Activities are the actions done in order to implement an objective. Specific people are responsible for their execution and there is a time frame and cost binding their development. A very important element that should be defined at this stage is the potential target audience of that proposed title, which will determine how the content should be presented. Strengths and weakness of the project should be stated and the ways should be identified to maximize and minimize them respectively. (iii) Pre-production Depending on the planning and design, it is required to develop the project. There are following steps in pre-production. (iv) Budgeting Money is not an infinite resource, therefore a detailed budget should be estimated for each step of the production of multimedia title. Typical budgeting heads are cost of personnel, advisors and consultants, equipments (hardware etc.),







communication expenses, travel expenses, typing and publishing. (v) Multimedia Production Team The production of the fine quality high-end application requires a specialized team and its best efforts. As developing a multimedia project is a teamwork, this team consists of a number of members i.e. Production Manager, Content Specialist, Script writer, Text Editor, Multimedia Architect, Computer 100

Graphics Architect, Audio/Video specialist, Computer Programmer and Web Master. All the persons involved in above roles have specific duties and responsibilities. (vi) Hardware/Software Selection For any multimedia production it is imperative to consider and finalize the tools and equipment necessary to develop and playback the application. Hardware selection include deciding the fastest CPU and RAM and largest monitors that are affordable, sufficient disc storage for all working files and records, file sharing for collaborative work via networks or e-mail and establishing a file backup system. Selection of the appropriate authoring software and file formats depends on what is the in-house team expertise, what are the demands of the title being developed and what are the available funds for this purpose. (vii)

Defining the Content Content is the „stuff‟ around which the application is developed. It can

be defined as the specific message, data facts or information to be presented. The content specialist provides the content to the multimedia architect, who in turn prepares the narration, text bullets, charts and tables etc. that will be presented in the multimedia title. (viii) Preparing the structure A detailed structure should be prepared depicting all the steps of the future action along with timeline. This structure defines the activities, person responsible for each activity and the start/end time for each activity. (ix) Production After the completion of the pre-production activities, the multimedia application enters into the production phase. Activities in this phase includecontent research, interface design, graphics development, selection of musical background and sound recording, development of computer animation, production of digital video, authoring, etc.


Text to be incorporated can be typed or scanned using OCR software, audio (narration music, sound effects etc. can be incorporated directly if it is available in the digitized format or can digitize it for use. Pictures can be shot or scanned by digital camera 35mm film/photo CD. Video clips can also be shot, digitized, edited and compressed. Navigational elements like graphics button can be created or already available buttons can be used. A pilot project will be prepared at that time. (x) Testing The final and thorough testing of finished pilot product should be carried out before the mass production and distribution to ensure that everything is in place and to avoid any failure after launch. While testing, each and every aspect for smooth running of the program is to be taken care of. If the product is a website, it should be uploaded on the web to test its functioning on different browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator). If it is a CD or DVD, let other people use it as layman. If it is a multimedia application on a LAN or Internet, it must be put on the server for testing purpose. After the tests are over the product should be revised, to incorporate the valid changes suggested. (xi) Documentation User documentation is a very important feature of high-end multimedia titles. The documentation should contain information regarding system requirement (hardware/software) instructions for installing the application copyright acknowledgement, content development acknowledgement, direction for navigation into the application. Contact details and e-mail address along with phone number should be provided for technical support and also for sending comments and suggestions. (xii) Delivering the Multimedia Product High-end multimedia applications that are text and graphic heavy, are best delivered on a CD/DVD. The other effective way is on Internet website.


CD/DVD should be chosen of a standard format and appropriate capacity for the particular multimedia title. Now multimedia content is being widely disseminated through Internet. Although bandwidth problems, requirement of a number of plug-ins to play video and audio, long download time and other problems exist that hamper the delivery of multimedia application through Internet. The application can be continuously updated and the content does not get outdated on the internet, while on CD-ROM continuous updation is not possible. A more effective way of delivering a multimedia application is an integration of the two mediums CD-ROM/DVD and Internet. A particular application may be developed on the CD-ROM or DVD and may have an embedded link to the website where regular updates are available. Vice-versa, if the application is developed and uploaded on the website where information keeps accumulating, then as the archive becomes substantial it can be reproduced on a CD-ROM for convenience viewing. Because of some copyright problem, if the multimedia product cannot be delivered through Internet it can run over a LAN or Intranet. 3.4.3 Multimedia Production Team Management of team members in such a way to achieve maximum output with highest degree of efficiency is very important in multimedia production. The production of fine quality high-end multimedia application require a specialize team consisting of the following members (Vaughan, 2008). (i) Production Manager The role of the production manager in a multimedia production is to define, coordinate, and facilitate the production of the multimedia project. He is the person responsible for the quality and timely production of the application. The production manager should be an expert in technology. He should be skilled










communication skills, budget management skills and conversant with relevant legal issues. He should be experienced in human resource management and must act as an efficient team leader. (ii) Content Specialist Content specialist is the person responsible for performing all necessary research concerning content of the proposed application. Program content means specific information, data, graphics or facts presented through the multimedia production. (iii) Script Writer Video and film scripts present a linear sequence of events. In multimedia production the medium has the capability of presenting events in a non-linear fashion by branching in different sections or components of the program. The scriptwriter needs to be able to visualize the three dimensional environments and if needed visualize the use and integration of virtual reality into the program. (iv) Text Editor The content of a multimedia production needs to flow in a logical fashion and the text must be structurally and grammatically correct. Text and narration will be integrated as part of the application and the development of documentation for application must be considered. All the text related to elements need to be revised by the text editor. (v) Multimedia Architect The multimedia architect integrates all the multimedia building blocks. i.e. graphics, text, audio, music, video, photos and animation by using an authoring software. He oversees the work of other team members, such as graphic artist, audio specialist, video specialist and computer programmers.


(vi) Computer Graphic Artist The Computer Graphic Artist is the person responsible for the graphic elements of the program- such as backgrounds, buttons, bullets, manipulations and editing of pictures, 3-D objects, logos, animation, rendering etc. When developing an interacting multimedia product where graphic elements are clickable for other slides, it is the responsibility of the graphic artist that the new screens and background should be in harmony and in balance with the rest of the screen components. (vii)

Audio and Video Specialist These specialists are needed when narration and digitized videos are to

be included in a multimedia presentation. The audio/video specialist is responsible for recording and editing narration, selecting, recording, or editing sound effects, Recording and editing music and composition, video capturing, editing and digitizing. (viii) Computer Programmer The job of computer programmer is in the programming of code lines or scripts in the authoring language. These scripts are used to code and develop special functions or capabilities of the authoring program. His job may include developing the software to give the size and shape of video windows, controlling peripherals, calling computer software by the multimedia authoring program to execute a specific function, to search a database, to display a result and other tasks. (ix) Web Master The Web Master has the responsibility of creating and maintaining an Internet web page. He converts a multimedia presentation into web page or creates a web page with multimedia elements. The human resources involved in the roles from production manager to web-master have their own duties and responsibilities.


Final multimedia

product ready for consultation is a joint effort of the team. The production manager identifies the content for a project, while the web master provides its access to a wide range of community through web-services.

3.5 Multimedia on Internet Many applications have been developed with the integration of internet and multimedia i.e. media rich newspapers, web archives of multimedia resources, maps, media rich blogs etc. An extensive study on use of internet and multimedia in USA explores that an estimated 55 million consumers use Internet radio and video services each month (Kozamernik & Mullane, 2005). However image is also one of the most used type of multimedia resource on internet. It is reported that 19 percent of the queries submitted on Dogpile search engine ( were executed on the image collection (Jansen, Spink & Koshman, 2007). Youtube is a website hosting videos on internet and it is estimated that two billion of videos are viewed daily and hundreds of thousands of videos are uploaded every day. Youtube conditioned the audiences to watch the online video and opened the door to broadcast and non-broadcast newsrooms to publish and share video content online. Flickr ( is a free online photo management and sharing service on internet owned by Yahoo (, where users can upload, share and comment on photos. Social







( etc. are also enabling multimedia rich contents to exchange online. Orkut is owned by Google and multimedia can be added in Orkut profile either from GoogleVideo or Youtube ( There are many multimedia search engines available to make the resources easily searchable on internet. i.e. Google (Googleimages, Googlevideo), Yahoo, Exite etc.


3.6 Applications of Multimedia Multimedia is one of the most fascinating and fastest growing area in the field of information technology. The capability of computers to handle different types of media makes them suitable for a wide range of applications. A Multimedia application is an application which uses a collection of multiple media sources e.g. text, images, sound/audio, animation and/or video on a single platform for a defined purpose. Multimedia can be seen at each and every aspect of our daily life in different forms. However, entertainment and education are the fields where multimedia has its dominance. A brief account of multimedia applications in different fields can be traced as follows. (i) Education The revolution in the information and communication technology arena has produced a techno-savvy and media-hungry generation, which uses digital media as a way to learn and share with each other. It is affecting communication strategies in education environment and influencing the ways teachers teach and students learn. Multimedia or the use of multiple digital media elements in an interactive learning application is becoming an emerging trend in the communication of educational information. Multimedia offers an excellent alternative to traditional teaching by allowing the students to explore and learn at different paces where every student has the opportunity to learn at his or her own potential (Tway, 1995). People enjoy multimedia and they prefer multimedia learning materials because the multiple media help them to learn (Bass, 2000). Many educators now consider multimedia as a burning topic in education, because it represents the topic through various media elements and introduces new ways of thinking in the classroom. Studies have shown that multimedia based instruction increases effectiveness at least 30% more than the traditional or any other form of instruction (Zhang, 1995). Multimedia with its capability to present information using multiple media is being increasingly used worldwide in e-learning. E-learning is the use


of new multimedia technologies and the internet to improve the quality of learning by facilitating access to resources and services as well as remote exchanges and collaboration (Garg & Jindal, 2009). Multimedia is used in distance learning through stored presentations, live teaching, and participation by the students. University of Melbourne has initiated a project GISWEB (Geographical Information System) in 1999 to develop new delivery mechanisms aimed at improving the quality of teaching and learning using multimedia (Escobar, Frances, Bishop & Zerger, 2002). Multimedia University in Malaysia has developed a Multimedia Learning System (MMLS), an intelligent, interactive, self-paced, instructor led system to serve the needs of the educational enterprise in the country. It is a web-based teaching and learning tool, supported by multimedia, which create a virtual interactive teaching and learning environment. The system is currently being used at the National Electronic Media Institute (NEMISA, South Africa), Institute for Satellite and Software Application (ISSA, South Africa), La Rochelle University in France and twenty schools in Malaysia (Adni & Hussain, 2009). Multimedia based teaching and learning system named as MODULO at GMU in Germany is developed. It is a web-based environment that aims to provide students with a flexible, decentralised and differentiated learning environment based on their educational background. A synchronous groupware called PASSENGER is developed to support virtual student teams during laboratory exercises. It supports software development teams in performing their cooperative work in software engineering laboratories (Huai, Hunger, Werner & Schwarz, 2003). In India, multimedia is used in different ways for teaching and learning i.e. e-learning, distance learning, virtual learning etc. The Virtual Lab Project is a multimedia based e-learning program for technical education for technical training centres and engineering colleges in West Bengal in India (Chaudhury, Bhattacharyya & Akuli, 2003). EDUSAT (Education Satellite) is launched by 108

India for serving the educational sector of the country for emulating virtual classroom in an effective manner. It is specially configured for the audiovisual medium, employing digital interactive classroom and multimedia multi-centric systems. Consortium for Educational Communication (CEC), an autonomous body of University Grants Commission (UGC) has started regular transmission through EDUSAT from 2005 (Behera, n.d.). UGC has established Educational Multimedia Resource Centres (EMMRCs) in different parts of the country for the production of multimedia resources for educational purpose. The University Grants Commission (UGC), Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and several state institutions of education continued to broadcast educational programs through national and regional channels of Doordarshan. The Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) together with UGC had initiated setting up of four satellite television channels for educational purpose named as Gyan Darshan 1, 2, 3 and 4. An FM Radio channel named as Gyan Vahini operating through FM stations from various parts of the country was initiated in 2001, now having more than 40 stations. Each Gyan Vahini station operate as media cooperatives, with multimedia products produced by various ministries, educational institutions, autonomous bodies, national level institutions such as UGC, NCERT, IGNOU, IITs and open universities. IGNOU has developed many multimedia programs for teaching various subjects like chemistry, language, biology etc. to its students. (ii) Entertainment The remarkable advancement in the entertainment industry is only because of multimedia technology. Multimedia technology is a must need in each and every mode of entertainment. It is used in entertainment via radio, TV, online newspapers, online gaming, video on demand etc. The digitization of radio was made possible by introduction of DAB (digital audio broadcasting), is an example of how the broadcasting of radio programs combined with still or moving images will likely lead to a similarity


to television in the expression forms. A more relevant example is the new formats deriving from the various interactions between the web and television, such as interactive television or broadband web channels offering video contents. An example of multimedia technology in television industry is the integration of personal computer and TV-sets into a single multifunctional screen to receive digital TV programs (Rangone & Turconi, 2003). Video on demand or movies on demand is a service that provides movies to television sets on an individual basis at homes. Movies are stored in a central server and transmitted through a communication network. A set-top box connected to the communication network converts the digital information to analog signals and inputs it to the television set. The viewer uses a remote control device to select a movie and manipulate play through start, stop, rewind, and visual fast forward buttons. The service can provide indices to the movies by title, genre, actors, and director. Services to the home that provide video on demand will also provide other, more interactive, home services (Flynn & Tetzlaff, 1998). Many kinds of goods and services are also sold in this way. The services help users to navigate through the available material to plan vacations, download a song or movie, purchase goods, etc. The same infrastructure could be used to temporarily download video games with graphic intensive functionality, and the games could then be played for a given period of time (Sanuki & Asakawa, 1998). Multimedia made possible innovative and interactive games that greatly enhanced the learning experience. Games could come alive with sounds and animated graphics. Groups of people could play a game together, competing as individuals or working together in teams. Live internet pay for play gaming with multiple players has also become popular, bringing multimedia to homes on internet. Sound and animation have been particularly important in this type of applications to make the games thrilling and exciting to the user. Movies, songs, jokes can be downloaded from internet. Home shopping, food


preparation methods, gardening, interior designing, all is available on the internet integrated with photographs, audio and video clips. (iii) Business Systems Business applications for multimedia include presentations, training, marketing, advertising, product demos, simulations, databases, catalogues, instant messaging and networked communications, voice mails and video conferencing are provided on many local and wide area networks using distributed networks and internet protocols. Multimedia presentations are used in product sale conferences to present live description of the product. By using audio and video clips along with text and graphics the presentation becomes interesting for the audience. Multimedia has widespread use in training programs. Flight attendants learn to manage international terrorism and security through simulation. Mechanics learn to repair machines and engines. The marketing and advertising agencies are using animation techniques for sales promotion. Product demos are presented by adding video clips. These programs are also shown on television using multimedia techniques in very attractive way. Multimedia is used in office very commonly. Image capture hardware is used for building employee ID and building databases, for video annotation, and








commonplace for multimedia presentations on the road. Cell phones and personal digital assistants utilizing Bluetooth and Wi-Fi communication technology made multimedia communication for the pursuit of business more efficient. (iv) Medical Services Medical services are very much affected with the development of multimedia. Medical students are trained by using life demonstration of human body, various operations and other pathological and radiological investigation. They can practice surgery methods via simulation prior to actual surgery. The


tiny digital cameras are inserted in human body and it can display the inner scene of the body. In this way doctors are able to see the inner part without actually dissecting it. This technique is used in operations having very small cut on the human body. Video showing open-heart surgery with an audio narrative can serve as preparation for the real event (Hasebrook & Gremm, 1999). (v) Public Places Multimedia is available in libraries, museums, malls, airports, railway stations, banks, hotels, trade shows and exhibitions and many other public places in the form of kiosks, providing information and help for customers. Multimedia kiosks are an interesting means of presenting information, and have been used in advertising, retailing, banking, education & training for the automatic provision of information and advice. Kiosks are means of providing a wealth of product information, tailored to individual needs and presented in an interesting and user-friendly fashion (Rowly, 1995). The information presented in kiosk are enriched with animation, video, still pictures, graphics, diagrams, maps, audio and text. Such systems reduce demand on traditional information booths, add value and available around the clock. Banks are using kiosks in the form of ATM machines. (vi) Multimedia Conferencing Multimedia conferencing or video-conferencing is a system that simulates face-to-face interactions among participating users, located far from each other, as if they were sitting and discussing in a single room. In this system each participating user has a personal computer with video camera and a mic attached to it. The personal computers of all the users are interconnected through a high-speed network capable to transmit data containing audio and video. The coordination support software coordinates the proceeds of the conference, and resolves any conflicts when multiple users want to communicate simultaneously. In this way videoconferencing takes place.


(vii) Libraries, Information Centres and Archives The primary function of library is to collect, organise, preserve, and disseminate information to users. With the passage of time, several techniques and technologies have emerged for handling information more speedily and effectively. Multimedia technology is adopted by the libraries, information centres and archives in various functions like multimedia kiosks, user orientation programs, multimedia based reference collection, heritage collection in the form of multimedia resources etc. Many libraries have a separate media centre for the production of audio-visual and multimedia resources. Multimedia is used to prepare presentations to enrich its contents and increase the effectiveness. Multimedia resources are an integral part of libraries starting from non-print materials of eighteenth century to the introduction of most recent digital multimedia. Following is a brief account of application of multimedia technology in libraries. (a) Multimedia Kiosk/Walk-through Program Kiosk is a free-standing furnishing equipped with a multimedia computer to allow users to retrieve information via a touch screen, used in airports and other public locations to provide directions, scheduling information, etc. (Rowley, 1996). In case of libraries improving accessibility to both collections and services has always been a concern. Kiosk is designed for libraries usually located near the entrance of the library, used for displaying announcements, reading lists, comments and suggestions from library users, and other information concerning library operations and programs. Library collection, catalogue, archives, services and location of those collections, responsible persons of various library services showing the floor layouts are graphically represented in a library kiosk. (b) Webcasting and Video Conferencing Webcasting is the live telecast of real time programs through internet. Videoconferencing is conducting a conference between two or more


participants at different sites by using computer networks to transmit audio and video data. (c) User Orientation Program The role of multimedia in training is very popular because of its interactivity. Hence, it is being used by several libraries for designing individualized library instructional packages and also to provide in depth subject training to their staff. Many librarians in schools, colleges, universities and technical libraries are using multimedia for providing orientation and training to the users and training to the staff. (d) In-house Production of Multimedia Resources and E-publishing Many libraries produce in-house, audio-visual and multimedia resources to serve the parent organization. Emergence of CD/DVD and their writers has solved some of the problems of libraries in storing/achieving their materials. Multimedia tools along with CD-writers have made it possible to publish information from different sources in a most easy to use as well as in acceptable form to library users. Several libraries started publishing their special collections, image databases, OPACS etc. in multimedia CD-ROMs. Multimedia removes many of the limitations faced by the reader by conventional books like difficulty to reproduce, update, share single copies, easy to damage, cognitive load etc. A number of publishers have accepted that multimedia publishing is the future for the publishing industry and the government of the countries such as Japan and USA are fully committed to electronic and multimedia publishing (De Bruine, 1994). (e) Multimedia Resources in Libraries The kind of multimedia resources available in libraries and information centres may include video discs, laser discs, audio and video cassettes, databases on servers, compact discs and digital video discs. Multimedia got introduced in libraries in the form of non-print material as photographs, filmstrips, slides, motion pictures, audio spools, audio and video tapes etc.


(Ramaiah, 1998). With the introduction of digital media the libraries started digitizing the old formats into new multimedia formats. These resources are either organized on shelves or in a digital library accessible through networks. The librarian has to organise these varying types of resources and provide efficient access to the users. There are many libraries, having rich collection of multimedia resources e. g. Library of Congress, British Library, Bibliotheca Alexendrina, libraries of major news channels etc like BBC, Doordarshan, Discovery channel etc. Other multimedia information resources available in the libraries are commercial multimedia tools available in market. Any library can purchase and provide these tools to its users. These also come in libraries in the form of accompanying materials. Many leading and prominent publishers have now converted their reference books including encyclopaedias, dictionaries, handbooks, etc. from the traditional print form to interactive multimedia format. Some examples are (1) Encyclopaedia: Crompton‟s interactive encyclopaedia, Britannica Video CD, World Book Multimedia Encyclopaedia (2) Dictionaries: Oxford English Dictionary, The Dictionary of Living World (3) Reference Books: Earth Quest, Interactive Periodic Table (4) Electronic Books: Manual of Medical Therapeutics, The Electronic Whole Earth Catalogue etc. (f) Digital Multimedia Libraries Digital libraries are basically decentralized and easily extensible, able to support inter operability between different tools, applications and systems, support heterogeneity both in terms/forms of data and systems/tools supported, able to support a rich information seeking environment, and scalable in terms of the size of the system (users, tools, information). Digital information may include digital books, scanned images, graphics, data, digitized audio-visual clips etc.


The first Digital Library Project was started in 1995 in USA in Carnegie-Mellon University. Previously digital library projects were based on only textual data but later on all other media elements were also integrated into digital library collection like images, audio and video recordings. IBM digital library provides a hardware/software solution for the libraries to develop their own multimedia digital libraries. It is an integrated system for capturing, indexing, storage and retrieval of tabular, textual, audio, still images, and video data at compressed and full resolutions. The Informedia poject at Carnegi Mellon University, Alexendia digital library, Berkeley digital library sunsite, the American Memory, has pioneered new approaches for automated image, video and audio indexing, navigation, visualization, search and retrieval (Gunjal & Urs, 2010). In India, many Digital multimedia library projects has been initiated e.g. Digital Library of India, Kalasampada – The digital library of IGNCA, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Sarai Multimedia Archive, Digital Library of DESIDOC, Muktabodha Digital Library, Archives of Indian labour, etc. The IGNCA has created a Multimedia Digital Library in which contains text, image audio, video. DESIDOC has also created a well-structured image and video gallery which is available on DRDO intranet.

3.7 Conclusion Information Technology has become ubiquitous with current and future social and organizational growth. The rapid developments in IT brought revolutionized changes in the flow and content of information and related formats and technologies and become a key ingredient in bringing up great changes in over all aspects of society. Multimedia is a fertile ground for both research and development of new products, because of the breadth of possible usage, the dependency on a wide range of technologies, and the value of reducing cost by improving technology. The technology is being used in developing many applications for primary as well as higher education, entertainment, health services, public places and many more. With the advent 116

of low cost computers and easy to use word processing software, computer based image processing techniques paved way for digitized information comprising textual to multimedia - data consisting of text, images along with digitized voice and video. Thus the information stored in libraries has taken a major shift from volume-limiting printed to limitless multimedia digital form. The libraries and information centres instigate production of multimedia resources in various forms, however archival collection of library also have audiovisual and multimedia resources. All these resources are either organized on shelves in the multimedia library or in a digital multimedia library having different content forms. i. e. text, music, videos, images, which can be accessed simultaneously from geographically distributed areas through internet.


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