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A Framework for Shared and Personalized Video Based Documents

Miguel Boavida
Quinta da Torre 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
+351 21 2948536
Rossana Santos
Quinta da Torre 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
+351 21 2948536
Carlos Santos
Quinta da Torre 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
+351 21 2948536
Nuno Correia
Quinta da Torre 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
+351 21 2948536


This paper presents Video Città, a system that provides services for users to share and comment videos about a physical location. The system lets users upload their own videos, annotate and hyperlink content that was previously uploaded. It provides different modes of access including the Web and PDAs for mobile access. The system explores several new research directions, namely the generation of hypermedia structures from the existing materials as a way to provide personalized movie structures, the collaborative annotation of multimedia materials and the mobile access to geo-referenced contextual information.


Video; Personalization; Mobile Access; Collaborative Work


VideoCittà is a collaborative environment created to promote interaction between users engaged in tourism or other cultural activities, wanting to share their materials and their experiences, when visiting or studying a city or region.
One of the key aspects in the design of Video Città was the support for heterogeneous client applications, and the ability to deal with those differences in terms of client technology. A user may be connected to Video Città trough a mobile handheld computer, a networked PDA equipped with GPS or trough the web browser of a personal computer. The adoption of an http based client-server architecture, was the basic integrating element, and made possible the adoption of a simple web browser as the simplest and weakest form of client platform. Personalization, in its different forms [2] plays also an important in this type of system as a way to adapt the information to be delivered to the user considering its main interests and location.
VideoCittà is structured according to the geographical reality of the locations it represents, using a map as the main navigation mechanism. Behind the simple representation of the geographic elements that build the city, VideoCittà is, as its name implies a view of the city, trough the videos available for viewing and commenting. These videos can be institutional, commercial or, more generally, personal videos uploaded to the system by all the users who want to share their audiovisual materials to the community.
For those preparing a visit, or studying the cultural or historical elements of a region, the videos may be an important reference, but more important it is possible to complement the images with small bits of information or annotations. Taking notes is a natural way of expressing impressions or feelings about an external source of information.

  1. Adding an image annotation to a video

Paper is undoubtedly the traditional support for annotated materials and has to be thought as a reference concerning the basic needs and mechanisms of annotation. In VideoCittà users are invited to share not only their videos, but to share their views, their impressions, or the knowledge they have about cultural or historical aspects of the location, by annotating the videos. Video Città brings collaborative video annotation to the historical and tourism domains, enabling people to share their videos and to interactively provide additional information annotating the existing ones. Every member of the community may annotate their videos and those provided by other members, with no thematic restriction to the annotations a user can provide. Figure 1 depicts the process of adding one annotation using the Web interface.
An important element in Video Città is related with the ability of accessing the system from mobile devices, as is related with the concept of geo-thematic relevance. The geo-thematic relevance is an element of personalization that tries to capture the geographical proximity of the user with an entity that is strongly connected with his main interests.
For those performing scientific work these features could be very helpful, when integrated with the communication mechanisms for user and for group interaction. Personalization plays an important role in the management of group interaction simplifying interaction between explicit groups (teams) and suggesting or promoting interaction between implicit groups, or members with similar interests.
For the tourist user, we believe that the capacity to collect remotely placed messages could be fun, and motivating. In respect to group interactions, mechanisms exists that inform the user of the presence on site, of other members with interesting points in common. The location based features of the system contain in itself mechanisms of adaptation that give the user, information about the place where it is and the events taking place in its vicinity.
The Video Città system also contains mechanisms for the automatic generation of a movie that illustrates a tour around the city. This movie, made from the materials that exist in the system is personalized, meaning that the movie tries to capture the most relevant elements of the city according to the user's main interests. The current prototype already contains mechanisms for the movie tour generation, and in a near future these features will be extended in order to incorporate the generation of narrative content based on the user experience visiting the city.

2. Personalization

Personalization plays an important role in the usability of the system. The annotations provided by a community of users, make the viewing of an annotated video, difficult and time consuming. Some sort of user adaptation is necessary in order to deliver to the user just the information relevant to its needs or interests. The characterization of the personalization features available in the system is made according to several aspects [2]:
§ Content and presentation management
§ User interaction
§ Group Personalization
The content of the video and the additional information provided by annotations can be of an overwhelming diversity. The same historical monument may be relevant for different users by their cultural importance or simply by some personal reason. The first personalization approach in VideoCittà is made by simply trying to collect information about the user and his main interests, in order to suggest the type of information that may be relevant to that user.

2.1 Content and presentation management

In the context of VideoCittà the user expresses his main general interests and the particular interest points in the city he is visiting or planning to visit. The interest points may be not only monuments or locations but also events or ceremonies that take place in the region and that may be held in different locations. Besides the content adaptation, also the layout and presentation of the information needs to be adapted. The multimodal nature of the system implies the existence of mechanisms that provide content adaptation based on the characteristics of the user's accessing device. The user may be accessing the system trough small mobile devices as phones or PDAs, or trough a web browser. The type and volume of information that must be delivered to the same user, is constrained by the modality of access he is using. The existence of location based services is also a form of personalization: the content delivered to the user may be adapted according to its location. The annotations previously made by the user may be available when he is near the point of interest, information about events, related spots may be adapted to its current location.

2.2 User Interaction

The role played by the user in the construction of its profile defines two types of user interaction: implicit and explicit. In the context of Video Città explicit personalization plays an important role in the definition of the user profile and in their particular interests about cultural or historical events in the city or region. If the user is accessing the system to make plans for a visit or accessing it when touring the town, clear information about the user's interests are the key to provide him with information that is relevant to the objectives of his visit. The system also uses implicit interaction, when making suggestions about information that may be interesting to the user. This implicit form of user interaction is also present when location based recommending is enabled. The information delivered to the user is constrained by his location, the user is implicitly defining its patterns of interest trough is geographic location. A non-interactive approach is also present and uses the information available about the user actions and navigation pattern to infer and make suggestions about items that could be relevant to the user.

2.3 Group Personalization

The group personalization is extremely important in the context of this project and we plan to address it in two different perspectives: information and communication. The information perspective deals with information targeted to specific groups. Communication in this context is related with group awareness mechanisms, enabling an augmented support for interaction within explicit and implicit defined groups. Explicitly defined groups, can be traveling companions or friends with common interests in a city visit. Common interests may also be found in groups of users implicitly considered, due to strong similarities in their profiles or characteristics. People from the same country probably share a common interest in information that may be related with its national country. Groups of fans of a music artist or adepts of a sport probably have common information interests regarding events related with that artist or that particular sport The main body text should use a 10-point Times Roman font. Please follow the style defined in this document for the title, authors and section headings. There is NO need to leave a blank text box at the lower left corner of the first page as theprevious version of this template suggested.

3. Conclusions and Future Work

Most of the components of the system, mainly the server and the Web client were built and the tests with users will start now. Future work will concentrate on interfacing profile information for personalization and providing mobile access to the system. We hope that the current functionality and the features that are being developed will allow VideoCittà to be used by different types of user communities, sharing their videos and their interests about the cities and regions that are more relevant to them.


Our thanks to Pedro Assunção, Luís Soares e Gualter Garcia, from the MaDLabs, for their contribution on the interface design, of the video cittá prototype.


  1. Zipf, A. and Malaka, R. Developing location based services for tourism, ENTER 2001, (Canada), 2001. Springer CS.
  2. Correia, N. and Boavida M. Towards an integrated personalization framework: a taxonomy and work proposals, Workshop on Personalization Techniques in Electronic Publishing on the Web (Spain), May 2002