The convergence of computer and communication technologies emerged as a new technology named, ‘Multimedia Technology’ which is mainly concerned with the computer-controlled integration of text, graphics, drawings, still images, animation, audio, video and any other media where any type of information can be represented, stored, transmitted and processed digitally. Multimedia includes a combination of text, audio, still images, animation and video content forms. It enables the users to integrate and manipulate data from diverse sources such as video, graphics, animation, audio and text on a single hardware platform. The term multimedia is used in contrast to media which only utilize traditional forms of printed or hand-produced text. Multimedia is one of the most fascinating and fastest growing areas, in the field of Information Technology. Before the advent of computers, media objects were difficult to put together. Computers enable to combine the media and make it easy to manipulate and store for reuse. Multimedia Technology has many applications in various fields like education, entertainment, business, daily life etc., however entertainment and education are the areas where it has dominance.
Multimedia resources were a major component of collection of libraries as non-print materials. The non-print materials found in libraries were mainly in the form of photographs, filmstrips, maps, slides, motion picture films, LP records, audio spools, audio and video tapes, laser discs, video discs etc. Most of these materials require specialized devices for consultation. The Library of Congress has been collecting maps since 1865. Films and sound recordings have been in use since the 1890s and both were collected in libraries. The National Film Archive in Britain was established in 1935 and the United States National Archives set up a division of motion picture and sound recording in same year (Harrison, 1979). These libraries having collection in form of non-print material started to fill an archival function as national heritage collection. The materials required by industries such as film production company or broadcasting agencies are collected and organized. The non-print materials were collected when needed, and their organized collection was built up, to serve users in educational institutions and colleges.
The application of Information Technology in libraries got revolutionized with the advent of multimedia resources and digital multimedia libraries. Digital multimedia libraries are digital libraries, where the organized content is not restricted to textual resources only. Such libraries contain media types beyond text, like images, maps, music, videos and mixtures of different media objects. Digital multimedia libraries also contain content types, which are not supported in traditional libraries like three dimensional objects, executable software (e.g. computer games, tools etc). The main challenge for a digital multimedia library is to provide effective access to these resources based on adequate techniques of organization and to provide support for concurrent integration of different types of contents.
The management of multimedia resources in libraries is a challenging task because of its varying formats. It requires different type of skills on the part of librarian. Better infrastructure to run the resources and technically trained personnel are its prerequisites. The responsibility of the multimedia librarian also broaden while taking care of many issues like infrastructure, hardware and software support, copyright, fair use guidelines, controlled access etc. It requires flexibility, innovation and adaptation.
- Bakhshi, S. I. (n.d.). Organization and use of multimedia resources in Indira Gandhi national centre for arts and Desidoc, Delhi: a comparative study.