Collaborative knowledge in big communities (known as Wisdom of the crowds) and self-organization of huge amount of networked participants have shown a lot of potential in diverse fields of computer science and information systems. Still, there are many scenarios, in particular in highly professional applications, where a critical mass of users (experts) cannot be found in order to safely create this knowledge. In several scenarios a top down model providing generally agreed domain knowledge can be used as common ground for communication. However, for other scenarios, diversity in terms of interest, motivation, information need, and many other characteristics prevent top down approaches, for which an à priori consensus between participating members must be found. Within the project at hand we focus on small and medium sized groups of people, who (i) have common interests but are too diverse for applying a commonly agreed model and (ii) who are bound to use multimedia systems to satisfy their needs. Further, we consider these people being experts with intense domain knowledge, such as medical doctors.

In our project we plan to investigate (i) how communities of domain experts can be supported by multimedia information systems and (ii) how to leverage self-organization within those groups to a new level by novel and innovative multimedia services. With the help of our project partner, the KARL STORZ GmbH & Co KG, we will employ our research results to a real world scenario: a multimedia information system for endoscopic videos supporting surgeons spread all over the world. While content storage can be regarded as a solved problem, intelligent and specialized content annotation, retrieval, and analysis methods are totally missing in this domain. Tools for exchanging information among the domain experts are missing as well.

The research objectives in the project are divided into three major parts. (i) In the user part we focus on the user context and investigate individual as well as emergent group intentions. We will facilitate our research on intentions to leverage emergent semantics and self-organization within multimedia information systems. (ii) In the content part we will develop novel and innovative multimedia tools and techniques that integrate contextual information as well as domain-specific knowledge and emergent semantics to provide enhanced multimedia services in the (iii) scenario part to support surgeons in their daily routine.

With the proposed project we extend and intensify the partnership with KARL STORZ, one of the leading endoscope manufacturers in the world. Based on the CODE-MM Lakeside Labs project, which is proposed in addition to an ongoing applied research project, funded directly by KARL STORZ, we aim at consolidating and fostering basic and applied research competence in multimedia information systems for medical scenarios in Carinthia. In case of success, a number of exiting scientific and economic opportunities will unfold. Long term goal is the establishment of a center of expertise in this field – at least partially funded by KARL STORZ – or a new company dedicated to industry-oriented development and research and world-wide delivery of software tools for medical multimedia information systems. The high engagement of KARL STORZ in the project is by all means a strong indication of this excellent future potential.