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Image Semantics in the Description and Categorization of Journalistic Photographs

Mari Laine-Hernandez and Stina Westman

ASIS&T Annual Meeting - 2006 (ASIS&T 2006)
Austin, Texas, November 3-9, 2006


This paper reports a study on the description and categorization of images. The aim of the study was to evaluate existing indexing frameworks in the context of reportage photographs and to find out how the use of this particular image genre influences the results. The effect of different tasks on image description and categorization was also studied. Subjects performed keywording and free description tasks and the elicited terms were classified using the most extensive of the reviewed frameworks. Differences were found in the terms used in constrained and unconstrained descriptions. Summarizing terms such as abstract concepts, themes, settings and emotions were used more frequently in the keywording than in the free description task. Free descriptions included more terms referring to locations within the images, people and descriptive terms due to the narrative form the subjects used without prompting. The evaluated framework was found to lack some syntactic and semantic classes present in the data and modifications were suggested. According to the results of this study image categorization is based on high-level interpretive concepts, including affective and abstract themes. The photographs used in this study contained more symbolic and affective content than images used in previous categorization research. The results indicate that image genre influences categorization and keywording modifies and truncates natural image description.

Keywords: image content, free description, keywording, image categories, multidimensional scaling, hierarchical cluster analysis

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