Information Access Division Highlights - FY 2005
August 2005No Highlights
July 2005No Highlights
June 2005ITL Usability Test Report Format Approved as ISO Standard:The Common Industry Format for Usability Test Reports, developed jointly by ITL's Information Access Division (IAD) and industry, has been approved as ISO Standard 25062 "Software Engineering- Software Quality and Requirements Evaluation - Common Industry Format for Usability Test Reports". IAD's Mary Theofanos addressed final comments of ISO members at the ISO/IEC JTC1/SC7 Software and Systems Engineering Plenary, in Helsinki, Finland May 23-27, 2005, leading to ISO final approval in June. This Common Industry Format (CIF) provides a format for describing usability testing of a product, including the experimental design of the tests, tasks to be performed, test participants, data collection methods and usability measures (such as objective measures of effectiveness, efficiency, and the amount of effort for learning how to use the product successfully). Development of the CIF began in 1997 when NIST first brought together representatives from major software suppliers and customer organizations to form the Industry Usability Reporting Project (IUSR). The CIF was developed, test piloted, and then approved by ANSI/INCITS in December 2001. The CIF represents a new, pioneering approach to insuring software quality: an approach based on user-centered testing of software. Companies such as Boeing, Microsoft, and Oracle are using this reporting standard. It is also being applied to national voting systems, federal government procurements, and is being included in university curricula.Contact: Mary Theofanos, ext. 5889
May 2005ITL 3D Visualization paper presented at Web3D 2005:Qiming Wang, Information Access Division, participated in "Web3D 2005 Symposium" held in Bangor, Wales, UK, and presented a paper "Web-Based 3D Visualization in a Digital Library of Mathematical Functions", which was co-authored with Bonita Saunders, Mathematical and Computational Sciences Division. Qiming briefly introduced the NIST DLMF project, background, and structure of the DLMF website, and described the technology. She presented the "MathViewer", developed using VRML to visualize 3D mathematical functions interactively in the Web, and examples of 3D figures generated using MathViewer. The reaction for the presentation was very positive. The participants were impressed by the ongoing work on 3D visualization of mathematical functions.Contact: Qiming Wang, ext. 3284 Bonita Saunders, ext. 3836
April 2005The Work of ITL's Wo Chang on SMIL 2.0 Synchronized Multimedia is Adopted by Cell Phone Supplier Nokia:As cell phones continue to advance messaging capability from text-based Short Message Service (SMS) to content-based Multimedia Message Service (MMS), one major cell phone supplier, Nokia, recently adopted the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL) technology to support various media type file formats, including GIF (fixed and animated) and JPEG images, MIDI and AMR audio, and H.263 video. In addition to fully utilizing the SMIL functionality, developers can now build presentations that interact with users by authoring multimedia presentations, and coordinate the position and timing during presentations of media elements such as images, audio, video, and text.The underlying technology was based on the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) SMIL profile – a subset of the full SMIL 2.0 language, in which Wo Chang, of the Information Access Division, was heavily involved by hosting and editing the SMIL 2.0 interoperability test suite. This interoperability test suite was seen by W3C as vital for SMIL 2.0 to become a W3C Recommendation. Announced and released on August 9, 2001, the SMIL 2.0 Recommendation represents a cross-industry agreement on an XML-based language that allows authors to write interactive multimedia presentations.Chang has a long association with the W3C. He is one of the original members of SYMM WG which was started in 1996. He helped to create one of the early SMIL 1.0 public reference implementations and hosted the SMIL 1.0 interoperability test suite via the Web. In addition, he helped organize the first SMIL 1.0 interoperability tests at NIST in March 1998. Major participants who use the test suite include: Glocomm, IBM, Intel, Macromedia, Microsoft, Netscape/AOL, Nokia, Oratrix, Panasonic, Philips, RealNetworks, WGBH, CWI (Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science, the Netherlands), INRIA (Institut National De Recherce en Informatique et en Automatique, France), and NIST.CONTACT: Wo Chang, ext. 3439
March 2005ITL-Led MPEG-7 Application Profile Becomes Intl. Standard:
Wo Chang, of the Information Access Division, has led a successful effort to develop and standardize a profile of specific multimedia application domains as a subset of the MPEG-7 standard. This effort was initiated by the International Standards Organization (ISO) Working Group11 in 2002to help accelerate adoption of MPEG-7 into the marketplace. After a little over 2 years of work, the MPEG-7 Profile is now completed and successfully advanced to the International Standard status. This work was led by Wo Chang with participation by more than 70 companies including Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Motorola, Panasonic, Ricoh, Sharp Lab. of America, Sony, and Toshiba. Within the MPEG-7 Profile, a set of well-defined definitions and processing rules were established to create standard MPEG-7 description profiles and levels. Currently, the standard description profiles include (1) the Simple Metadata Profile (SMP) which describes simple multimedia clips such as music (MP3), images (digital picture), and mobile applications (3GPP), (2) the User Description Profile (UDP) to describe personal preferences and usage patterns of users of multimedia content, and (3) the Core Description Profile (CDP) to describe a collection of multimedia contents for images, videos, and audio which can be used for distribution, broadcast television programming, and educational courseware.
The XML Metadata technology for describing multimedia contents has existed for a while, but a well defined, standard set of features and extensible framework to describe any audiovisual data content was the idea behind the ISO/IEC SC 29 WG11 MPEG-7 metadata description technology back in 1988. The MPEG-7 standard was designed by a range of experts including broadcasters, manufacturers, content creators, publishers, intellectual property rights managers, telecommunication service providers, academia, government, etc., with the goals to: a) define a rich set of standardized tools to describe audiovisual content, b) create good storage solutions, high-performance content identification, fast, accurate, personalized filtering, searching, and retrieval data structure/formats, and c) enable both human users and automatic systems to process the encoded audiovisual content descriptions. Currently, the MPEG-7 standard consists of over 450 data element as its metadata structure.
Contact: Wo Chang (ITL), ext. 3439ITL Holds Workshop at Medicine Meets Virtual Reality Conference:Sandy Ressler, Information Access Division, held a workshop on Open 3D Standards and Interoperability for the medical imaging community at the 13th Annual Medicine Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR) Conference in California during the last week of January. MMVR is the premier forum for computer scientists and physicians who develop, refine, and promote advanced, data-centered tools for clinical care and medical education. MMVR helps stimulate interdisciplinary networking and collaboration for improved research, validation, and commercialization. This well-attended workshop included participants from the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) of the Army, the major U.S. funding source of medical simulation systems research. Other participants included Stanford, University of Washington, Duke University, and the Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization. This workshop highlighted the work of the Medical Working Group of the Web3D Consortium, which Ressler chairs, and is beginning to build consensus on the value and utility of open 3D standards. MedX3D, the evolving extension to the X3D (Extensible 3D) standard, will allow volumetric imaging for medical applications to be part of X3D and will be the key deliverable from this work.Contact: Sandy Ressler, ext. 3549
February 2005No Highlights
January 2005No Highlights
December 2004New Digital Media Group in ITL Information Access Division:
The Information Access Division (IAD) established a new Digital Media Group which brings together new projects in IAD in motion image quality and optical media testing with current IAD projects in multimedia standards.This group will collaborate with industry, academia, and government to develop metrology, test and evaluation methodologies, and standards for multimedia, digital media content, motion image quality, longevity and preservation of data on physical media; and fosters interoperable access to digital media through the development of metrology and open standards.Major on-going projects include development of a standard methodology to determine the reliability, longevity, and interoperability of digital physical media and its devices, development of motion image quality metrology and standards, anddevelopment of standards and testing for digital media content description technologyto index and retrieve media content. This re-organization helps IAD meet its expanded responsibilities in these areas and enables better leveraging of these projects.Wo Chang has been appointed as Group Leader.
ITL hosts Text Retrieval Conference (TREC) 2004:
The Information Access Division hosted the thirteenth annual meeting of NIST's Text REtrieval Conference (TREC) November 16-19, 2004.TREC serves the information retrieval research community and advances the state of the art in language technologies by providing the infrastructure for large-scale evaluation of those technologies, and an open forum for their discussion.This year, TREC "tracks" included question answering, web search, robust retrieval, novelty detection in documents, and genomics.Over one hundred groups from twenty-eight countries participated in the evaluation, representing organizations in academia, industry, and government.
One new track this year, the Terabyte Track, focuses on very large scale retrieval.While systems exist in the field that operate with terabytes of data, the methodologies for evaluating the performance of those systems are not very mature; the goal of the Terabyte Track is to advance our evaluation methods to that scale and beyond.This year's test collection was an exhaustive crawl of publicly-available web pages contained in the ".gov" domain.While it didn't add up to a full terabyte, the approximately 25 million web pages totaling nearly 500 gigabytes did pose a challenge to the researchers and has allowed us to begin to see how the evaluation scales up.One unexpected outcome of the track was that several research teams took the opportunity to reimplement their systems to handle large-scale collections, and to release those systems as open source.Now the community has more tools available to them for searching larger collections of text.
Plans for TREC 2005 have already begun, with new tracks in enterprise web search and e-mail spam detection.
Contact:Ellen Voorhees, ext. 3761
November 2004ITL's Ressler Leads New Task Group on Anthropometry in CODATA:
A new task group, led by Sandy Ressler of the Information Access Division, was approved by CODATA, the Committee on Data for Science and Technology, in November 2004.Approval of this new NIST led group titled "Anthropometric Data and Engineering", lends the endorsement of CODATA to the work of an international group of anthropometry experts (currently from 10 countries) in the World Engineering Anthropometric Resource (WEAR) project.The WEAR project, partially sponsored by the Systems Integration for Manufacturing Applications (SIMA) program within NIST, will now function as an international resource for anthropometric data and methods for a variety of engineering applications.Applications of anthropometric data relate human size and shape to equipment and the environments in which people interact. CODATA, part of the International Council for Science, is "a resource that provides scientists and engineers with access to international data activities for increased awareness, direct cooperation and new knowledge."
Contact:Sandy Ressler, ext. 3549.ITL's Scholtz is invited presenter at Rescue Robot Camp in Italy:
Dr. Jean Scholtz, of the Information Access Division, was an invited presenter at the Rescue Robot Camp, October 29 - November 2, 2004 in Rome, Italy.The camp was sponsored by the University of Rome, Robocup Rescue, and the Insituto Superiore Antincendi.The camp focused on the use of robots in urban search and rescue activities.Approximately 50 students and faculty participated in the camp.Participants were from the U.S., Italy, Germany, Australia, Japan, Sweden, The Netherlands, Israel, and The Czech Republic.Morning lectures focused on different areas of urban search and rescue robots, including mapping, victim identification, human-robot interaction, and mobility.In the afternoons, the participants worked in practical sessions implementing code for one of the different areas.Dr. Scholtz supervised a practical session on human-robot interaction that resulted in the design and implementation of a user interface to support live video, a laser ranging display, and the ability to operate the robot in four different modes of autonomy.
Contact:Jean Scholtz, ext. 2520.ITL coordinates NIST Industry Usability Reporting Workshop:The Information Access Division coordinated the 6th NIST Industry Usability Reporting Project (IUSR) Workshop held October 18-19, 2004 at Fidelity Investments in Boston.This workshop focused on how to report the results of formative usability testing.The Common Industry Format (CIF) developed by the IUSR participants for usability test reporting of summative testing, has been an ANSI/INCITS Standard since late 2001.Organizations and usability practitioners began modifying the CIF for reporting testing aimed at improving a product during its design and development, suggesting an "unmet need" that IUSR project participants were interested in studying.This IUSR Workshop focused on meeting this need. The workshop was well attended by representatives from industry, government and academia including participants from IBM, Oracle, Whirlpool, SAP and Fidelity Investments.Breakout groups worked on developing a common set of reporting elements, identifying the set of appropriate metrics, the rules and context for reporting findings and recommendations. In addition, four working groups were established to continue refining the respective elements.The goal of this work is to continue to raise the level of visibility of usability by promoting best practices and to assist the many practitioners for which most of the work is formative.A follow-up workshop is planned for June at the Usability Professionals Association Conference.Contact:Mary Theofanos, ext. 5889
October 2004No Highlights