Multimedia is about the handling of information in multiple means (media). Apart from text, information can be represented or “coded” as graphics, image (such as still picture), sound (voice, music) and video (moving picture). Multimedia enables richer and arguably better presentation of information. Current technologies only exploit our visual and hearing senses and in the future information we might be able to “touch” or “smell” information.
Multimedia posts a new set of challenges as compared to the traditional text-based technology. For example, a book is arranged in a “linear” fashion in which the author needs to design the flow and link ideas chapter by chapter. Paths can be devised so that different readers can proceed in different ways. Authoring multimedia information requires fundamentally different skills. Apart from writing skills, we need artistic ways to present information and other means of delivering information.
Multimedia presents new technical challenges to capture, code, edit, store, search, retrieve, transfer, distribute, present and access information. These challenges are tackled (and created) by advances in technologies.