TWENTY-ONE seeks to boost the use of multimedia documents by improving their distribution and facilitating the access of readers unfamiliar with the user language. The project applications are for sustainable environmental development and ecology, but the technology is not limited to these areas. Easier document access will exploit already developed techniques like knowledge-based image analysis, for use with the Internet. For distribution, the project will apply a model which establishes an incentive-based information transaction relationship between suppliers, brokers and end users.
There are two problems that prevent effective dissemination in Europe of information on ecology and sustainable development. One is that relevant and useful multimedia documents on these subjects are not easy to trace. The second problem is that although the relevance of such documents goes beyond the scope of a region or a country, they are often available in one European language only. As a result they are rarely used by organizations in countries across the language border.
Project Twenty-One will improve the distribution and use of multimedia documents, and facilitate access to them by readers who are not native speakers of the language in which they are written. The project will focus on the domain of sustainable environmental development and ecology, but the technology developed by the project will be domain independent.
At a technical level, improved document access will be achieved by use of approved natural language technology, knowledge-based image analysis, and telecommunication-based developed document information technology, as developed in earlier national and European projects. The technology to be will not only make use of the current infrastructure and de facto standards on Internet, but will also contribute to standardisation within the new generation of Internet tools and applications.
At an organizational level the project will apply an information transaction model for the electronic distribution of multimedia documents that has been developed and evaluated in the Netherlands by the MOOI Foundation. This model (called "Galilei") establishes a new relationship between suppliers, brokers and end users of multimedia information. This relationship is new in the sense that the incentives to contribute to the information transaction follow naturally from the model. In other words: every participating party is rewarded immediately.
Providers of environmental information and a selection of their user groups (which have sites all over Europe) will participate in the implementation and evaluation of both the demonstrator software and the information transaction model.
The project will build a software demonstrator to enable users to type in queries in their own language, and to retrieve multimedia documents in one of four selected European languages, using a browsable index in their own language, translated automatically by the software. The demonstrator will then enable the users to communicate interactively with the providers of the documents. The demonstrator will be made available on an "Internet-CD", a CD-Rom with all the Internet software needed to install and run it on the Internet.
A noteworthy exception to the national isolation of environmental documents is Agenda 21, an international document available in all European languages reflecting the results of international discussions on ecology at the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Conference (UNCED). Agenda 21 will play a central role in the project: because it is already multilingually available it will be used for development of concepts and for evaluation.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
60486 Frankfurt Am Main
G2 1HG Glasgow
LE3 6HX Leicester
6525 GC Nijmegen