Creating Content

Open standards for annotating and indexing networked media

This page covers both the use of the software required to create content, and some hints on creating good CMWebs.

Content Creation Software

For creating Annodex files, you will need to install some Authoring software. We provide command-line authoring tools for download. With them, creating Annodex files consists of creating audio or video files, creating CMML files for them, and then combining the two to produce a single, streamable bitstream in Annodex format [ANX].

Here is the sequence of steps to go through:

  1. Create the audio-visual content in one of our recommended encoding formats.

  2. For each audio-visual file, create a CMML file in a text editor, conformant to the CMML DTD. For testing and correcting the CMML files, you may use the tools cmml-validate.

  3. Merge the CMML file with the audio-visual file that it describes through using anxenc resulting in an Annodex format file, which should be published on the Web though an Annodex-enabled Web server.

For another introduction to using the command-line tools, see the Australian Linux Magazine. Though it is based on previous versions of the software and formats, the principles remain the same.

Hints on creating CMWebs

Instead of thinking of audio and video as long sequences of media as we are used to with films and documentaries, the continuous media web allows you to create structured webs of media. Users can simply surf around and follow links they find interesting, just like navigating a web site.

Just as every text web site has a single entry point, usually named index.html, a continuous media web site should start with an index.anx file. This file should provide a short summary of what can be explored at this site, with embedded links to other pieces of content on the site. Users can surf to the related material by simply pressing the "follow link" button in a browser as the topic is introduced. The presenter might prompt this by saying something along the lines of "click now to find out more".

Production planning
As with every audio-visual production and every new Website, it pays to think about the structure of your CMWeb site and the structure and interconnections of each audio-visual file before starting. It may help to plan these before shooting the material, possibly with some sort of storyboarding, where you make sketches of scenes and their connections. The keyframes identified in a storyboard can be used later as the representative images of clips in the final Annodex files.

Of course, more spontaneously taken material also lends itself for Annodexing if you can identify clips and hyperlinks to other material. And let's not forget about structures like audio-visual Web logs for which no planning is necessary.


Tutorial notes (1.6MB pdf)
Video demo (6.4MB mov)

Recommended Codecs
How to Annodex Theora

Creating content
Example Science CMWeb
Searching Science CMWeb
Other sites


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