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Intellectual Access to Images


Convenient image capture techniques, inexpensive storage, and widely available dissemination methods have made digital images a convenient and easily available information format. This increased availability of images is accompanied by a need for solutions to the problems inherent in indexing them for retrieval. Unfortunately, to date, very little information has been available on why users search for images, how they intend to use them, as well as how they pose their queries, though this situation is being remedied as a body of research begins to accumulate. New image indexing methods are also being explored. Traditional concept-based indexing uses controlled vocabulary or natural language to express what an image is or what it is about. Newly developed content-based techniques rely on a pixel-level interpretation of the data content of the image. Concept-based indexing has the advantage of providing a higher-level analysis of the image content but is expensive to implement and suffers from a lack of interindexer consistency due to the subjective nature of image interpretation. Content-based indexing is relatively inexpensive to implement but provides a relatively low level of interpretation of the image except in fairly narrow and applied domains. To date, very little is known about the usefulness of the access provided by content-based systems, and more work needs to be done on user needs and satisfaction with these systems. An examination of a number of image database systems shows the range of techniques that have been used to provide intellectual access to image collections.


Library and Learning Resources

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0024-2594; 1559-0682

Document Type

Article - Journal

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© 1999 Johns Hopkins University Press, All rights reserved.

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