Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering

Constrained querying of multimedia databases: Issues and approaches

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This paper investigates the problem of high-level querying of multimedia data by imposing arbitrary domain-specific constraints among the multimedia objects. We argue that the current structured query model, and the query-by-content model, are insufficient for many important applications, and we propose an alternative query framework that unifies and extends the previous two models. The proposed framework is based on the querying-by-concept paradigm, where the query is expressed simply in terms of concepts, regardless of the complexity of the underlying multimedia search engines. The query-by-concept paradigm was previously illustrated by the CAMEL system. The present paper builds upon and extends that work by adding arbitrary constraints and multiple levels of hierarchy in the concept representation model. We consider queries simply as descriptions of virtual data sets, and that allows us to use the same unifying concept representation for query specification, as well as for data annotation purposes. We also identify some key issues and challenges presented by the new framework, and we outline possible approaches for overcoming them. In particular, we study the problems of concept representation, extraction, refinement, storage, and matching.