by Wolfgang Putz
Computer networks and powerful end-user systems allow effective new modes of access to information. More efficiently than conventional services, new digital services can deliver information that is both up-to-date and customized to users' needs, and they can systematically integrate video, audio, and film with textual information. In addition to adequate hardware, both information providers and information users need tools for analyzing, editing, structuring, retrieving, and representing such multimedia information.
The DIAMANT system (Digitized Information System and Archive for Multimedia Data), which is based on document-oriented information structures, includes tools for generating, indexing, editing, storing, scanning, and retrieving multimedia documents. The open architecture allows users to integrate alternative information tools, such as web browsers. To ensure open, cross-platform development, it uses data standards such as SGML, JPEG, MPEG, and TIFF.
The DIAMANT system is being used for MultiMedia Forum, an electronic GMD-internal online magazine that is also accessible worldwide on the Internet over the World-Wide Web (http://www.darmstadt.gmd.de). MultiMedia Forum is based on the concept of relationship publishing.
Together with a publishing house, its developers have also used the DIAMANT system to compile a glossary of information technology terms and an events calendar. Further applications, such as an information system for associations, a workstation for media documentalists, an electronic newsletter, and a catalog of direct references to periodical information sources in the World-Wide Web have been planned. The MultiMedia Forum is continuously being evaluated empirically by the editors and users, who are providing substantial suggestions for the development and extension of the DIAMANT system. Cooperation with partners in industry is planned.