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A Multimedia Filing System

Objective

The aim of MULTOS was to develop an efficient and cost-effective system for filing and retrieving multimedia documents in the office environment.
The MULTOS approach to office document filing and retrieval is intended to support applications where the processing of information is distributed, large volumes of documents are stored, and powerful retrieval by document contents (such as user-defined attributes, text and graphic images) is needed.
Much of the processing within the MULTOS system is based on a conceptual model supporting a semantic-oriented description of documents. This semantic document representation is the basis for MULTOS's content-oriented processing, classification and retrieval techniques. The European standard for an Office Document Architecture (ODA) was adopted as the document interchange format (ODIF). The ODA model was also extended by providing conceptual description features more suitable for efficient retrieval by content.
The main aspects of the project included document modelling, document type handling, query language design and query processing optimisation, image data modelling and retrieval, knowledge-based document classification, document management, indexing techniques, optical storage exploitation and support for user/system interaction. The main objectives were to:
-develop an efficient and cost-effective system for the filing and retrieval of multimedia documents
-integrate optical storage media for filing large numbers of documents
-implement techniques for the content-based retrieval of text and attribute data and investigate techniques for the content-based retrieval of image data
-investigate and implement knowledge-based techniques for automatic document classification
-implement document management functions such as access control, security, integrity and version support
-define a multimedia document model for document filing and retrieval
-develop an application environment to test and evaluate the MULTOS system's capabilities.
The aim of the multimedia filing system (MULTOS) was to develop an efficient and cost effective system for filing and retrieving multimedia documents in the office environment.

The MULTOS system is based on a client/server architecture. The user interacts with the system through the client subsystem, which provides a user friendly interface for document preparation, document acquisition, query formulation, document display and printing. The requests are issued to the server. There are 2 types of document servers, related to 2 groups of documents with different retrieval requirements. In the dynamic server, the documents can be updated and frequently accessed; in the archive server, the documents are stable and less frequently accessed. Document filing in the dynamic server is done using magnetic storage; the archive server integrates magnetic and WORM optical disks. Documents created or acquired in the Client environment can be classified either manually or automatically. The classification allows parts of the document to be associated with conceptual components for use in retrieving the documents later. Automatic classification is based on predicates associated with document conceptual components. Logical, layout and domain specific information is used during automatic classification.

Graphic images are analysed and the objects composing the image automatically extracted. Image analysis is based on user defined application domains. 2 different approaches to image analysis and retrieval have been experimented with. A first MULTOS prototype was implemented in 1987. The final prototype provides complete system functionality.
The MULTOS system is based on a Client/Server architecture. The user interacts with the system through the Client subsystem, which provides a friendly user interface for document preparation, document acquisition, query formulation, document display and printing. The requests are issued to the Server.There are two types of document servers, related to two groups of documents with different retrieval requirements. In the dynamic server, the documents can be updated and frequently accessed; in the archive server, the documents are stable and less frequently accessed. Document filing in the dynamic server is done using magnetic storage; the archive server integrates magnetic and WORM optical disks.
Documents created or acquired in the Client environment can be classified either manually or automatically. The classification allows parts of the document to be associated with conceptual components for use in retrieving the documents later. Automatic classification is based on predicates associated with document conceptual components. Logical, layout and domain-specific information is used during automatic classification.
Graphic images are analysed and the objects composing the image automatically extracted. Image analysis is based on user-defined application domains. Two different approaches to image analysis and retrieval have been experimented with.
A first MULTOS prototype was implemented in 1987 and demonstrated at the 1987 ESPRIT Conference. It supported dynamic and archive filing (integrating WORM optical disks) for documents containing text components only. The final prototype provides complete system functionality: multimedia documents can be created in the Client subsystem, classified automatically, and stored on the Server subsystem. The same documents can be retrieved using text, image and document attributes.
Exploitation
A pilot application has been developed using the MULTOS system. The application is based on a newspaper scenario. It demonstrates the capabilities of MULTOS system in real office environments and allows its evaluation.
Many papers have been published about the project in international journals. The consortium recently published Multimedia Office Filing and Retrieval: The MULTOS Approach, edited by C. Thanos, in the North-Holland series Human Factors in Information Technology.

Coordinator

Ingegneria C. Olivetti and C. SpA
Address
Via Palestro 30
56100 Pisa
Italy

Participants (7)

Battelle-Institut eV
Germany
Address
Am Römerhof 35
6000 Frankfurt Am Main
CRETAN COMPUTER INSTITUTE
Greece
Address
Daidalou, 36 P.o.box 1385
71110 Iraklion
EPSILON SOFTWARE LTD
Greece
Address
Syngrou Avenue 190
17671 Athinai
ERITEL S.A.
Spain
Address
141,Paseo De La Castellana
28006 Madrid
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF ITALY
Italy
Address
Via G. Moruzzi 1
56124 Pisa
PHILIPS DUPONT OPTICAL
Netherlands
Address
Oude Apeldoornsewg
7300 AE Apeldoorn
TRIUMPH ADLER AG
Germany
Address
Nürnbergstraße
90762 Fürth