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Welcome to Multimedia, Cortent, Tools, eContent and Internet Action Plan


Multimedia: Enriching the Information Society

Propelled by an ever-present and ever-expanding internet, the world is undergoing a rapid transformation from an industrial to an information-based society. Central to this evolution is a repository of ' multimedia content and tools' that enlivens the Net and makes information-rich applications and ideas a reality. As the technology behind this evolution continues to evolve and improve, the foundations for ubiquitous multimedia throughout Europe are steadily being laid.

Pioneering Research and Development

Research and development is needed to reinforce Europe's position as a pioneer in multimedia technologies. Key Action 3 (KA3) combines applied research, especially in the area of digital publishing, e-culture and e-learning, with generic technology development to support more intelligent and user-friendly provision, access and management of content. And, by exploring the multicultural and multilingual aspects of IST, the research and demonstration activities emanating from this Key Action reinforce the 'access for all' premise within the information society.

KA3's Objectives

The objective of this domain is to foster research and technological development which:

  • Improves the functionality, usability and acceptability of future information products and services;
  • Enables linguistic and cultural diversity;
  • Stimulates creativity; and
  • Encourage lifelong learning through a special focus on education and training systems.

KA3's Activities and Priorities

The activities and priorities of the Multimedia Content and Tools Key Action are as follows:

  • New models, methods, technologies and systems for creating, processing, managing, networking, accessing and exploiting digital content, including audio-visual content;
  • New technological and business models for representing information, knowledge and know-how, thus augmenting the research dimension within KA3;
  • Work to addresses both applications-oriented research - focusing on publishing, audio-visual, culture, as well as education and training - and generic research in language and content technologies for all applications areas; and
  • Work should cover all project types, including validation, take-up, 'concertation' and standards.

For a more detailed description of KA3's activities and priorities, refer to the Actions Line descriptions for 2002.

Who does ISTweb serve?

Key Action 3, Multimedia Content and Tools provides information via the IST web for:

  • Researchers;
  • Project participants & new applicants;
  • Industry and business partners (esp. information services, publishers, content creators, media and entertainment services, e-commerce operators);
  • Experts;
  • Universities;
  • Private and public user organisations (schools, libraries, museums and other educational and cultural establishments)
  • General-interest groups,...

Multimedia in modern society

Multimedia is not a new concept. In fact it has existed in different guises for well over 20 years - think of those slideshow evenings with accompanying music and light snacks. But it was in the 1990s that the term began to take on the richness of meaning we in Europe understand. Today, the technology landscape has expanded to encompass all facets of our daily lives - at work, at home and on the move - and it is reaching ever-widening segments of society.

The internet, e-mail, mobile phones, etc. are becoming standard features for Europe's information society to communicate, gain access to new services and to learn new skills. Entrepreneurs are using IST to improve their competitiveness and create new business. Researchers are exploiting IST applications to gain new insight into complex scientific problems. But these developments are just the beginning of the 'digital revolution' resulting from the convergence of computing, communications and content.

Given the liberalisation of telecommunications, growing internet use, and the globalisation of information communication technologies (ICT), technological development should continue its upward trend over the next few years. In this context, research and technological development (RTD) in IST is essential to maintain Europe's competitiveness and social cohesiveness.

'Multimedia Content and Tools' or Key Action (KA3) of the IST Programme has been created to manage research projects aimed at fostering and stimulating these all-important technologies of the future. Implemented together with other non-research programmes (eContent and Internet Action Plan) KA3 is part of the Information Society Directorate-General of the European Commission. KA3, or Directorate D, is based in Luxembourg

KA3 and the website it manages should be a primary information source and support environment for all parties interested in emerging and converging ICT and multimedia content, which can be taken to include:

  • Interactive electronic publishing;
  • Digital heritage and cultural content;
  • Education and training;
  • Human language technologies;
  • Information access, filtering, analysis and handling.

See below for a more detailed definition of 'multimedia'. For more information about the IST, FP5 or other Commission activities, we recommend you visit our Useful Links page ...

Definition: Multimedia

Using computers and/or digital features to present visual and audio content in a meaningful context. Elements include: animation, audio components, CD-ROM, computer entertainment, convergence media, data compression, DVD, graphics and graphics interfaces, hypermedia, text, video, videoconferencing, virtual reality, €¦ and an ever expanding list of technologies in this growth area.

For more information consult the multimedia glossary available on this site.

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