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Information Access Division Highlights - FY 2007

Information Access Division Highlights - FY 2007

August 2007

ITL Completes 2007 Evaluation for the Automatic Content Extraction Program (Przybocki):

Technical staff in the Information Access Division have completed the 2007 evaluation for the Automatic Content Extraction (ACE) program. The evaluation occurred in late January and the follow-on technical workshop was held in College Park, MD in mid-March 2007. The ACE program is dedicated to the development of technologies that automatically extract informational content from source language data. The technologies have been evaluated in the context of text data and for multiple languages. This year's evaluation consisted of eight basic tasks and three diagnostic tasks. Various tasks were offered for each of the four ACE languages (Arabic, Chinese, English and Spanish). Systems were evaluated on their ability to detect predefined types of: entities (persons, places and things), values (quantity information), normalized temporal expressions, relations (relationships between two entities), and events (action involving one or more entities). The sixteen participants in ACE-2007 came from industry, academia, and government contractors.

NIST uses a value formula to judge how similar the system results are to that of carefully annotated reference data. The evaluation showed performance gains in English Entity Detection and Recognition (EDR) and English Temporal Expressions Detection and Normalization (TERN) language/tasks. In addition, performance levels were set for Spanish EDR, Chinese TERN, and Arabic EDR language/tasks. Complete results may be found at the following URL:

ACE 2007 is a part of an ongoing series of evaluations dedicated to the development of technologies that automatically infer meaning from language data. NIST conducts these evaluations in order to support information extraction research and help advance the state-of-the-art in information extraction technology. These evaluations provide an important contribution to the direction of research efforts and the calibration of technical capabilities.

Contact: Mark Przybocki, x3347

June 2007

Multimedia Application Formats Event:

    ITL's Information Access Division (IAD) co-sponsored, with the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the First International Multimedia Application Formats (MAF) Awareness Event (AE) on April 28, 2007 in San Jose, CA. The program was chaired by Wo Chang of IAD and the event theme was "Connecting Multimedia Applications and Services."

    Over 60 industry, government, and foreign representatives attended this MAF Awareness Event. The program presentations included (followed with demonstrations):

    • Keynote – MAF Technology
    • Music Player MAF
    • Photo Player MAF
    • Musical Slide Show
    • Media Streaming MAF
    • MAF for Digital Multimedia Broadcasting
    • Open Release MAF

    This event introduced the ISO's newest multimedia standard, ISO/IEC 23000, also known as "MPEG-A", developed by ISO's Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). MPEG-A aims to serve clearly identified market needs by facilitating the swift development of innovative, standards-based multimedia applications and services. A MAF specifies a combination of already standardized MPEG and non-MPEG tools providing an appropriate technical solution for a class of applications. These solutions are used for managing, searching, filtering, and accessing the exponentially growing amounts of public and private multimedia content found on the Internet, digital broadcast networks, and mobile devices. The MAF AE demonstrated powerful application and service technologies and helped lay out a migration path towards widespread usage of multimedia content for any organization wishing to provide a set of standard comprehensive and cost-effective content management and distribution services solutions for their customers. There were more than 120 companies who participated and more than 40 active organizations involved in developing these standards. To learn more about the MAF, please visit

    Wo Chang is the Deputy Chair for the US National Body for MPEG (INCITS L3.1) and chairs key ISO Ad Hoc groups including MPEG Content-based Search Framework on Query Format and Multimedia Application Formats. He also Co-chairs the JPEG JPSearch (JPEG Search) project.

    Contact: Wo Chang, ext. 3439

    3D/2D Content Rep., Analysis & Retrieval:

    Technical staff from the Information Access Division (ITL) and Biochemical Science Division (CSTL) organized a workshop on 3D/2D Content Representation, Analysis and Retrieval in collaboration with MEL. This workshop was held April 23-24, 2007 at NIST, Gaithersburg, MD, in conjunction with Interoperability Week, which was coordinated and hosted by NIST's Systems Integration for Manufacturing Applications (SIMA) program.

    3D and 2D object models are widespread and used in many diverse areas, such as computer graphics, computer aided design, computer vision and cultural heritage, and other fields; and are less developed, but important to medical imaging, structural biology, and cell biology. Large numbers of 3D/2D images are created every day in the sciences and many are stored in publicly available databases. For scientific image data to be most useful, methods for storage, indexing, searching, recognition, clustering and retrieval of the content under study are essential. While there have been advances in the retrieval of information from text data, these methods simply can't be extended to 3D/2D images. Search and exchange of 3D/2D object models require image-based, surface-based or volume-based features or descriptors to effectively characterize the shape, semantics, content and object topology.

    The Workshop was organized with the goals of bringing the various scientific and computing research communities together to share perspectives and knowledge between the disciplines, and to increase communications among academia, industry and government. The workshop objective was to define a research agenda for the future by identifying the gaps in the resources available for image content handling. These resources include 3D and 2D databases, evaluation methodologies, algorithms, benchmarks and interoperability tools. Workshop participants helped identify appropriate roles for NIST in this activity. The workshop also included a panel discussion, to stimulate the development of recommendations.

    This well-attended workshop included participants from National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, W3C, Hokkaido University (Japan), National Research Council (Canada), Carnegie Mellon University, University of Maryland, Purdue University, MIT, Stanford University, Drexel University, Arizona State University and the French Embassy. NIST participants included staff from following laboratories: Information Technology, Chemical Science and Technology, Manufacturing Engineering, Electronics and Electrical Engineering, Building and Fire Research, and Materials Science and Engineering.

    The presentation slides and audio from workshop have been posted on the workshop website

    Contact: Afzal Godil (ITL), ext. 4262; Talapady N. Bhat (CSTL), ext. 5448; Anne Plant (CSTL), ext. 3124

April 2007

Accessible Interface & Info Workshop:

The Information Access Division (IAD) co-sponsored a workshop, on "Matching Needs of Users with Disabilities to Emerging Technology Capabilities: Setting an R&D Agenda in Accessible Interface and Information Technologies", held at NIST in Gaithersburg, Maryland February 28 - March 1, 2007. This workshop was hosted in collaboration with the Trace Research & Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Founded in 1971, Trace has been a pioneer in the field of technology and disability. The workshop was funded through the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Universal Interface & Information Technology Access at Trace supported by the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute on Disability & Rehabilitation Research.

This was an invitation-only workshop that brought together cross-disciplinary experts, including researchers in bioengineering, computer science, human factors, and assistive technology, to discuss the impacts of emerging interfaces, information technology, and network technologies on people with disabilities, and identify the key topics and questions for research and development for the next five, ten, and fifteen years. The objective was to discuss and help map out the potential impact of areas such as ubiquitous computing, anytime-anywhere connectivity, speech recognition, natural language processing, artificial intelligence, direct brain interface, interface sockets and network services. Workshop participants included: American Foundation for the Blind, Carnegie Mellon's Language Technologies Institute, College Misericordia's Assistive Technology Research Institute, Free Standards Group, IBM, Lowney Access Research, Marquette University, National Federation of the Blind, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Sungkyunkwan University (Korea), University of Colorado's Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, University of Florida, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Toronto's Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, and various U.S. government agencies such as the U.S. Access Board, GSA, and NSF.

The goal was to identify key areas where research is needed and could show impact over 5, 10 and 15 year time spans. The mainstream resources being expended to advance this area are enormous. The funds to study and address the impact on people with disabilities, however, is quite limited. Identifying these issues early allows stakeholders to capitalize on mainstream research and focus research resources carefully.

Analysis from this workshop will be shared at upcoming RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technologies of North America) and HCI (Human Computer Interaction) International conferences. A workshop report will be available by September 2007.

Contact: Sharon Laskowski, ext. 4535

March 2007

Usability Standards:

Mary Theofanos and Brian Stanton, of the Information Access Division, led an ISO Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting of experts from the software engineering usability community and the human factors and ergonomics community focused on defining the family of Common Industry Formats (CIF) for Usability. This 2nd JWG meeting of ISO JTC1/SC7 and TC159/SC4 was held in Paris, France at AFNOR -- The French National Standards Organization -- January 22-23, 2007. Participation included technical experts from academia, industry and government representing seven countries including (United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and Australia). This JWG focuses solely on the CIF family of documents. The CIF framework contains 10 proposed documents including: A Context of Use Specification, User and Organizational Requirements Specification, User Interface Requirements Specification and a Formative Test Report Specification. All components of the framework were identified and their respective contents enumerated. In addition, all user groups and existing related standards were identified. A list of terms that require clear definitions was also compiled. A plan was developed to further refine the contents of each document and complete the Technical Report. A follow-up meeting will be held at NIST in Gaithersburg, April 19-20, 2007. Mary Theofanos is a Joint Convener and Brian Stanton is the secretary of the JWG.

This new CIF framework supplements ISO Standard 25062 "Software Engineering- Software Quality and Requirements Evaluation - Common Industry Format for Usability Test Reports", approved in June 2005. The CIF represents a new, pioneering approach to insuring software quality: an approach based on user-centered testing of software. The base document for this standard was developed jointly by technical staff in IAD and industry.

Contact: Mary Theofanos, ext. 5889

December 2006

McCabe & Grother Receive INCITS Awards in Biometrics:Mike McCabe and Patrick Grother, Information Access Division, were honored by the InterNational Committee for Technology Standards (INCITS) M1 Biometrics Technical Committee. Both were recognized for their contributions to the INCITS/M1 Technical Committee, particularly for their work in editing INCITS 409-2005, "Biometric Performance Testing and Reporting". McCabe was cited for his contribution to Part 1, "Principles and Framework", while Grother was honored for his editorial work on Part 2, "Technology Testing and Reporting. McCabe also received recognition for his editorial work on ISO/IEC 19794:2005 "Biometric data interchange formats" for "Part 2: Finger minutiae data" and "Part 5: Face image data."In addition, McCabe received an M1.5 Technical Team award recognizing his contributions in the INCITS/M1.5 Task Group for Biometric Performance Testing and Evaluation, citing that his "dedicated efforts and level of commitment are what lead to the exceptional quality and timeliness of [these] standards." The Technical Committee M1 program of work includes biometric standards for data interchange formats, common file formats, application program interfaces, profiles, and performance testing and reporting. The goal of M1's work is to accelerate the deployment of significantly better, standards-based security solutions for purposes, such as, homeland defense and the prevention of identity theft as well as other government and commercial applications based on biometric personal authentication. Contact: Mike Garris, ext. 2928.
Created November 12, 2014, Updated August 25, 2016