Standardization of multimedia -- basic issues

Paul Burchard (
Thu, 30 Mar 95 18:42:45 EST

Ralph E. Ferris <> writes:
> In addition to the work on ISO 13522, another,
> complementary standard is being developed in ANSI X3V1:
> SMSL - Standard Multimedia Scripting Language.

Roger Price <> wrote:

> I am one of the editors of the forthcoming ISO 13522 ["MHEG"]
> from JTC1/SC29/WG12 which will provide a generic
> representation for final form multimedia and
> hypermedia objects which may be used in minimal
> resource systems.

I'd like to thank both Ralph and Roger for introducing the HTML
Working Group to the related standardization efforts of ANSI and ISO.
I hope the communication between these groups will continue.

That said, I have to admit some puzzlement over the locus of
standardization selected by the ANSI and ISO groups. For multimedia,
it seems to me, standards should not attempt to design or impose
*any* new media formats, including scripting language formats (SMSL).

Instead, standardization should focus on the coordination of multiple
media through generic object models (as in MHEG), and format-specific
bindings to those models. In this strategy, though, the low-level
details of this coordination (communication and storage of objects)
should be delegated to *non-multimedia-specific* object standards
such as CORBA, ILU, etc., or extensions of them (unlike MHEG).

Basically, I feel that it's a poor idea to approach multimedia
standardization by either (1) entering the language/format wars with
another candidate that has no implementation base, or (2) inventing a
home-grown object communication/storage system specifically for
multimedia, which is in competition with more general efforts that
have significant industry momentum.

I would be grateful if these groups could give us some more
background on the reasons for the scope and locus of standardization
that they've chosen.

Paul Burchard <>
``I'm still learning how to count backwards from infinity...''