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Volume 9 / Issue 4

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DOI:   10.3217/jucs-009-04-0309


Foundations of MIRACLE: Multimedia Information Repository, A Computer-supported Language Effort

Hermann Maurer (Graz University of Technology, Austria)

Robert Stubenrauch (JOANNEUM RESEARCH, Austria)

Daniela G. Camhy (Graz University, Austria)

Abstract: Research in neurosciences, cognitive psychology and media sciences indicates that "visual thinking" carries a potential of the human mind that is generally still neglected today but could heavily be fostered by novel types of communicating and archiving information. Computer technology (information systems, telecommunication and visual tools) in turn promises to provide a wide range of highly effective tools to support visual, dynamic communication. MIRACLE treads new paths to address a crucial issue: In what way and to what extent can and should current and future systems support new ways of communicating and archiving information using dynamic, visual information?

This paper gives a survey of the numerous attempts that have been made so far to overcome language barriers by introducing artificial languages (both on a spoken/text and on a visual basis). It also analyzes the general status of technology (computer hardware and software) to support such efforts as well as a number of specific projects. From this overview we draw the conclusion that computer-based systems designed to support communicating and archiving dynamic visual information should focus on the following features:
  • Support dynamic language elements on a structural level in addition to traditional animated icons,
  • Incorporate gestural language elements (inspired by natural sign languages) anticipating future ways of human-computer interaction,
  • Allow evolutionary development of the language in a group-dynamic and interactive process involving large international groups of participants.
In a final section we give a brief outline of the cluster of specific projects carried out under the heading of MIRACLE.

Keywords: computer-supported communication, constructed languages, converging technology, information archiving, information retrieval, language independent communication, multimedia, visual communication, visual languages

Categories: A.1, H.3.7, H.4.3, H.5.1, J.4, J.5