Monday, February 19, 2007

LEARNTEC, Karlsruhe February 13-15

This year, we participated at the LEARNTEC Fair in Karlsruhe (February 13-15). LEARNTEC is focussed of e-learning technology integrating universities and industries together within an exhibition and a congress. As officially being the advisor of an ESF/BMBF funded startup company called OSOTIS, I was visiting my students who took part at this exhibition. OSOTIS is also the name of the 'Academic Video Search Engine' that serves as a testbed for our research in semantic web and multimedia search technology.

The setting of OSOTIS is the following: We are dealing with lecture recordings and offer a search service over and also inside those lecture recordings. The main advantage of OSOTIS is that most of the video post processing that is necssary for implementing a search is done in a completely automated way. Many other video search systems depend on cost intensive post processing, such as segmenting the videos into short 'learning objects', manually annotating the video segments, etc.
OSOTIS is different:
It makes use of additional information resources such as desktop presentation (e.g. powerpoint or pdf slides or simply desktop recordings) that can be synchronized with the video recording in different ways. If there is only a lecture video without any additional information source, even speech recognition technology is able to provide keywords that can be used for the video annotation. In this way, the video can be automatically segmented and the segmants can be annotated with keyword descriptors. Additionally, if there is no way to determine the content of the video, OSOTIS offers manual annotation and social tagging services to all registered users. Thus, there is always some way to search inside each lecture recording, no matter if additional information resources are available or not.
You just enter a keyword and OSOTIS will display a list of lecture recordings that are related to that keyword. By selecting one of the results, the video will start at exactly that point in time that is directly related to the user query. OSOTIS does not host the video resources on its own server, but offers only links to the original streaming servers (for streaming resources) or origin servers with podcast/videocast recordings. Thus, also all kind of video formats can be maintained, as e.g., real media, mpeg, mp4, flash video, and others.
Up to now, the main part of hosted video lectures is in given in German (and thus being hosted by german speaking universities, as also Austria or Switzerland). But, the number of lecture recordings in English will be increased soon.