Metadata authoring tool for multimedia and audiovisual resources descriptions
An innovative metadata authoring tool using a unified model based on MPEG-21 and TV-Anytime standards

Developed by Boris ROUSSEAU, Wilfried JOUVE and Laure Berti-Equille

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The M-Tool (or Metadata Autoring Tool) is a prototype application running on Windows platform developed with the .Net Framework and Windows Media Player. Its objective is to allow content producer to annotate as well as visualise and navigate through multimedia and audiovisual resources repositories. The idea behind it is to provide one single tool for content producers that present a mixture of textual, graphical, and audio/video data. This page presents the work achieved in the European Integrated Project ENTHRONE.
We will greatly appreciate your feedback; although the M-Tool is still in development, your comments, ideas or critics will help us to improve this tool.

Main Functionalities:

The M-Tool is a prototype multimedia authoring tool that federates metadata generation for a diversity of content formats. We consider that a single application to create or enrich metadata will achieve interoperable and transparent access to multimedia resources from any type of client terminal or network and provide an implementation to the Universal Multimedia Access (UMA) concept. It makes use of a unified model based on the MPEG-21 and TV-Anytime standard specifications to enable content description, transport, adaptation and Digital Rights Management (DRM).

TV-Anytime and MPEG-21 are complementary and cover the requirements specified by the ENTHRONE partners for Video on Demand (VoD), TV broadcast, and News broadcast scenarios. Our point of view is that the use of MPEG-21 adds the flexibility mandatory to adapt to these various services and situations. MPEG-21 enables the hierarchical representation of multimedia contents which is useful to create advanced and interactive multimedia contents. Every resource is described using the TV-Anytime standard and then, resources are gathered and synchronized inside a MPEG-21 structure that includes network QoS and adaptation metadata and right protection metadata.
Figure 1 illustrates the metadata description schema.

Figure 1. Metadata model in the ENTHRONE project

Graphical User Interface:

The M-Tool is a prototype that offers the functionalities required to create or manage metadata information relevant to a particular resource. The aim of the GUI is to provide the end-user and service providers with modules that enable creating, enriching, browsing, maintaining and monitoring content-descriptive metadata. In the ENTHRONE overall architecture, the M-Tool is located in the Metadata Management Module that collects metadata from all content providers, enriches, processes and sends it to the database.
Figure 2 illustrates ENTHRONE overall architecture with the relevant partners' name.

Figure 2. Metadata management architecture and orchestration

Communication Interface:

This acts as the input to the Metadata Management Module in that it allows downloading metadata documents from various input sources provided by Content Providers. When a user requests to download a TV-Anytime or MPEG-21 document from content providers, the M-Tool invokes available remote servers to check whether TV-Anytime metadata could be retrieved. If so, the metadata document is downloaded (via an HTTP Get or a SOAP get request). As shown in figure 3, the content producer is allowed to edit, delete, convert or send the relevant document to the database.

Figure 3. M-Tool communication interface

This tool provides the functionalities to edit and visualise both MPEG-21 and TV-Anytime metadata documents through the respective modules.

M-Tool for MPEG-21 (Figure 4):

The M-Tool for MPEG-21 is a DID editor and generator. The generation of the DID structure is achieved thanks to a graphical representation of the MPEG-21 structure. The user can drag and drop relevant icons to add MPEG-21 structure elements (Container, Item and Component) or descriptor elements (TVA schedule event, TVA program information, REL and DIA metadata and Free Text). A DID is edited or generated by inserting/deleting or modifying these elements inside MPEG-21 descriptor.

M-Tool for TV-Anytime (Figure 5):

The M-Tool for TV-Anytime has functionalities to load, annotate, enrich or create a new TV-Anytime document while keeping any edition compliant with the schema and in synchronization with the audiovisual resource. It could be executed as a standalone application and is composed of two main modules: the configuration module and the TV-Anytime editor itself.

The configuration module allows user to select relevant TVA fields depending on their requirements for annotation. The M-Tool actually enables users to choose between over 90 TVA fields (e.g. genre, parental guidance, audiovisual attributes, etc) to adapt the annotation areas to the selected elements.

The Annotator is a form consisting of several editable fields as requested by the user with the configuration module and taken from the profile. The annotator is divided into two sections: Program Information and Program Location of the current program as shown in the above figure. As for the TV-Anytime specification, Program Information describes the resource in terms of title, synopsis, keywords, etc whereas Schedule Event represents a single instance of a program schedule or availability. The same program can be shown several times within the same day; as a result the same description can point to several schedules. The annotator supplies functionalities to edit, delete and add programs, Schedule Events or subprograms associated with the actual resource.

Figure 4. M-Tool for MPEG-21 user interface

Figure 5. M-Tool for TV-Anytime user interface

The M-Tool is currently being tested and integrated in the ENTHRONE demonstrators.


We are considering using this tool in conjonction with Navitex and the team's video on demand platform to develop a full text and possibly content based search engine.

Last update - october 2005