The value of information often depends on how easily it can be found, retrieved, accessed, filtered and managed. MPEG-7, formally named ‘Multimedia Content Description Interface’, provides a rich set of standardized tools to describe multimedia content. Both human users and automatic systems that process audiovisual information are within its scope. It was intended to be the standard for description and search of large volumes of audio and visual content – including that from private databases, broadcast and via the Web. Applications include database retrieval from digital libraries and other libraries, areas like broadcast channel selection, multimedia editing and multimedia directory services.

MPEG-7 offers a set of audiovisual Description Tools (the metadata elements, their structure and relationships that are defined as Descriptors and Description Schemes). It specifies a Description Definition Language (DDL) so that material with associated MPEG-7 data can be indexed and allow fast and efficient searches. These searches will permit not only text-based inquiries, but also for scene, motion and visual content. Material may include stills, graphics, 3D models, audio, speech and video as well as information about how these elements are combined. Besides uses in program-making MPEG-7 could help viewers by enhancing EPGs and program selection.