IBM offers new library service for multimedia

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 May, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 May, 1997, 12:00am


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IBM has introduced a 'digital library solution' to help companies, especially in media and entertainment, manipulate vast amounts of information.

The company says the system already has found favour in North America with the world's premier ice hockey association, the National Hockey League (NHL), and with SKG DreamWorks, the film studio founded by moguls Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.

The digital library is a universal multimedia technology that allows for storage and management of all forms of information, including books, movies, music, documents, pictures and letters.

It is not simply a digital version of a traditional library but a complete infrastructure, allowing access to digital information integrated with interactive, intuitive and automatic tools for cataloguing, searching and navigating.

Richard Selvage, IBM's general manager, media & entertainment, global telecommunications and media industry, said the digital library had helped the NHL package its statistics in a format that allowed archival information to be sold along with live updates.

The league has existed for decades and has thousands of games captured on video from broadcast. Its vast trove of video/audio files had been kept in different formats in remote locations, making access cumbersome.

With IBM's help the audio/video clips are being digitised for storage in the digital library, creating a powerful tool for broadcasters.

'To help the NHL create a community of interests, keep them in touch with their fans, and create new value so that they can leverage those things in the marketplace, we have created some hardware and software that is touch-screen oriented,' Mr Selvage said.

The NHL/IBM Real Time Scoring Systems for Hockey stores information in digital form and programs and hosts a redesigned World-Wide Web site.

The statistics are stored real-time in a server in each of the arenas where the NHL's 26 teams play.

IBM's digital library project with SKG DreamWorks is its first with a motion picture studio.

Mr Selvage said that IBM's relationship with DreamWorks had started about 18 months ago. Since DreamWorks began from nothing, its founders had the opportunity to create the studio from the ground up using digital technologies.

'We have supplied them with a lot of technologies, specifically digital library, which is the heart of their entire digital studio,' Mr Selvage said.

DreamWorks' first animated feature, Prince of Egypt, due for release next year, has made use of the digital library.

James Steele, general manager, telecommunications & media industries, at IBM Asia Pacific Service, said digitising information was a boon to media and entertainment firms. 'Once it is digitised, we can send it through the Internet or any way we want,' he said.