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What is Content-Based Retrieval

Encyclopedia of Multimedia Technology and Networking, Second Edition
An important retrieval method for multimedia data, which use the low-level features (automatically) extracted from the data as the indexes to match with queries. Content-based image retrieval is a good example. The specific low-level features used depend on the data type: color, shape, and texture features are common features for images, while kinetic energy, motion vectors are used to describe video data. Correspondingly, a query can be also represented in terms of features so that it can be matched against the data.
Published in Chapter:
Multimedia Information Retrieval at a Crossroad
Qing Li (City University of Hong Kong, China), Yi Zhuang (Zhejiang University, China), Jun Yang (Carnegie Mellon University, USA), and Yueting Zhuang (Zhejiang University, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-014-1.ch134
From late 1990s to early 2000s, the availability of powerful computing capability, large storage devices, high-speed networking, and especially the advent of the Internet, led to a phenomenal growth of digital multimedia content in terms of size, diversity, and impact. As suggested by its name, “multimedia” is a name given to a collection of data of multiple types, which include not only “traditional multimedia” such as images and videos, but also emerging media such as 3D graphics (like VRML objects) and Web animations (like Flash animations). Furthermore, relevant techniques have been developed for a growing number of applications, ranging from document editing software to digital libraries and many Web applications. For example, most people who have used Microsoft Word have tried to insert pictures and diagrams into their documents, and they have the experience of watching online video clips such as movie trailers from Web sites such as Multimedia data have been available in every corner of the digital world. With the huge volume of multimedia data, finding and accessing the multimedia documents that satisfy people’s needs in an accurate and efficient manner becomes a nontrivial problem. This problem is referred to as multimedia information retrieval. The core of multimedia information retrieval is to compute the degree of relevance between users’ information needs and multimedia data. A user’s information need is expressed as a query, which can be in various forms such as a line of free text like “Find me the photos of George Washington,” a few keywords like “George Washington photo,” a media object like a sample picture of George Washington, or their combinations. On the other hand, multimedia data are represented using a certain form of summarization, typically called index, which is directly matched against queries. Similar to a query, the index can take a variety of forms, including keywords, visual features such as color histogram and motion vector, depending on the data and task characteristics. For textual documents, mature information retrieval (IR) technologies have been developed and successfully applied in commercial systems such as Web search engines. In comparison, the research on multimedia retrieval is still in its early stage. Unlike textual data, which can be well represented by term vectors that are descriptive of data semantics, multimedia data lack an effective, semantic-level representation that can be computed automatically, which makes multimedia retrieval a much harder research problem. On the other hand, the diversity and complexity of multimedia data offer new opportunities for the retrieval task to be leveraged by the techniques in other research areas. In fact, research on multimedia retrieval has been initiated and investigated by researchers from areas of multimedia database, computer vision, natural language processing, human-computer interaction, and so forth. Overall, it is currently a very active research area that has many interactions with other areas. In the coming sections, we will overview the techniques for multimedia information retrieval, followed by a review on the applications and challenges in this area. Then, the future trends will be discussed, and some important terms in this area are defined at the end of this chapter.
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Content-Based Multimedia Retrieval
An application that directly makes use of the contents of media, rather than annotation inputted by the human, to locate the desired data in large databases.
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