A Discussion on
Multimedia

Multimedia, or mixed-media, systems offer presentations that integrate
effects existing in a variety of formats, including text, graphics,
animation, audio, and video. Such presentations first became commercially
available in very primitive form in the early 1980s, as a result of advances
that have been made in digital compression technology-- particularly the
difficult area of image compression. Multimedia online services are
obtainable through telephone/computer or television links, multimedia
hardware and software exist for personal computers, networks, the internet,
interactive kiosks and multimedia presentations are available on CD-ROMs and
various other mediums. The use of multimedia in our society has it benefits
and it's drawbacks, most defiantly. Some of the more computer-related uses of
multimedia, such as electronic publishing, the internet, and computers in
education will be discussed in depth thought this paper.


Electronic publishing is the publishing of material in a computer-accessible
medium, such as on a CD-ROM or on the Internet. In a broader sense of the
term it could also include paper products published with the aid of a desktop
publishing program, or any form of printing that involves the use of a
computer.
Reference works became available in the mid-1980s both in CD-ROM format and
online. Increasingly, in the 1990s, magazines, journals, books, and
newspapers have become available in an electronic format, and some are
appearing in that format only. Companies that publish technical manuals to
accompany their other products have also been turning to electronic
publishing.
Electronic books have been recently introduced to the world as a whole. This
new concept is the use of internet or otherwise computer technology to
electronically convert books to a digital, readable format viewed on a
television set or computer screen. This would most likely be done by scanning
in individual pages in a book, arrange them in orderly fashion, and have
users be able to cycle back and forth between the photo-identical pages. This
method would be very quick, and very easy to accomplish- that is- scanning
pages as opposed to re-typing millions of words is preferred. This brings us
to another method in electronic book production- the interactive method. In
digital format, the book's pages can only be viewed, just like a book. If a
reader would want to take notes from a book, he/she would have to write down
the notes by hand, or would be forced to photo-copy the page(s). If the book
was typed out entirely as would be done by an electronic word processor such
as Microsoft Word, users would greatly benefit. The ability for the computer
to recognize the words on the screen as actual words as opposed to mere
bitmaps is often unrealized to the computer non-familiar. This recognition
allows the page to be edited with complete interactivity and ease- again like
Microsoft Word. Books can be updated or corrected in real time, without
having to re-upload corrected pages, or compensate for unalignment in words
and page breaks. Perhaps the most beneficial to the user is the
interactivity- the ability to interact with the words in the book. By
highlighting letters on the page, copying them, and pasting them in personal
clipboards or other word processing programs, the tedious task of note-taking
can be eliminated. This idea, on the other hand, can raise issues with the
author and publisher of the book. Plagiarism, already a problem, would run
wild in this area. Users would theoretically be able to copy entire books or
magazines to their personal files, and be able to use them as their own
reports or writings. Additionally, the ability to view a book and it's
contents at no charge obviously will not agree with some publishers. This
also brings up the idea of charging people for time "online." Users could be
charged money for use of electronic books/magazines on a time basis. This,
however, will not go over well in the public domain. We would rather take on
the trouble of taking manual notes than be charged for something that is
otherwise free at a library.


In a very short time the Internet has become a major vehicle of worldwide
communication and an unrivaled source of information. One of the Internet's
fascinations is that its resources are limited only by the number of
computers participating in the World Wide Web and the imaginations of their
users.
The Internet is an international web of interconnected government,
education, and business computer networks- in essence, a network of networks.
From a thousand or so networks in the mid-1980s, the Internet had grown to
about 30,000 connected networks in mid-1994. By mid-1995 the number of
networks had doubled to more than 60,000, making the Internet