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Audio Information Retrieval and Audio Search By Chris Mc Coy Brief Overview The basics of audio information retrieval and audio search What are some audio IR mechanisms? Briefly: Compression Searching by audio query How it works The future of audio IR and audio search

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Audio Information Retrieval and Audio Search

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brief overview
Brief Overview
  • The basics of audio information retrieval and audio search
  • What are some audio IR mechanisms?
  • Briefly: Compression
  • Searching by audio query
    • How it works
  • The future of audio IR and audio search
the basics of audio search and audio information retrieval cont
The Basics of Audio Search and Audio Information Retrieval (cont.)
  • What is it?
    • Audio information retrieval is the process of retrieving audio information from the available resources
      • Text based searching for audio information is most common
    • Audio search (content-based retrieval) is a method of retrieving information by using a piece of audio information (ex: a melody of a song)
why is audio ir important
Why is Audio IR important?
  • Audio information in the form of music is one of the dominant forms of entertainment
  • News reporting
  • Comedy audio segments
  • Online radio and sports broadcasts
  • Audio in presentations leads to a more interesting and interactive product
  • Research and homework
what are some audio ir mechanisms
What are some Audio IR Mechanisms?
  • Text based
    • Peer-to-peer file sharing software
    • FTP
    • Streaming audio
    • Websites
    • Online network drives
    • Clip Art
  • Audio search devices and software
peer to peer file sharing software
Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Software
  • Peer-to-peer software connects one computer to another directly without a central point of management
  • Information can be queried and results transferred from one computer to another computer
peer to peer file sharing software cont
Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Software (cont.)
  • Some common software examples
    • Bearshare
    • KaZaA
    • WinMX
    • Others: eDonkey2000, Furi, Blubster, Grokster, Madster, etc.

Free download version and $19.95 pay version (6 months) with extra features

  • Retrieves the following audio information
    • Movie and television sound clips
    • Music songs (.mp3 most common form)
    • Historic news reports
    • Famous speeches
  • Other types of media:
    • Videos, pictures, text documents, etc.
peer to peer file sharing software cont11
Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Software (cont.)
  • Problems
    • Spyware
      • Programs that collect information about the user and usage of the computer
    • Virus transmittal
      • Trojan horse
      • Ex: “Rolling Stones – Ruby Tuesday.exe”
    • Too many unrelated results returned
      • Query for the music band “Love”
        • Thousands of songs with “love” in the title are returned
    • Mismatched names and identification info
  • Audio Compression is a method used to decrease the size of an audio file to conserve disk space
  • MP3 is one of the most common forms of compressed audio
    • MP3 is a lossy format
    • Depending on quality: 1/5 or 1/10 size of .wav
    • Lossy format – tradeoff: soundquality and filesize
  • Other common types of compressed audio:
    • Real Audio (lossy format)
    • .SHN (Shorten) (loseless format)
  • Controversy exists over the sharing of audio information in compressed format

  • Common storage area for audio information
  • Many FTP cater to particular areas of audio
    • FTP sites for trading rare music from a particular band
    • Old archived radio or historic audio files
  • To find some FTP sites do a search on a search engine (ex: “Beatles FTP”)
ftp cont
FTP (cont.)
  • Information needed
    • IP (ex:
    • Port (ex: 21)
    • Login (ex: music)
    • Password (ex: mp3)
streaming audio
Streaming Audio
  • Used on many commercial websites to provide sound samples of music
    • Ex:
  • Allows for quick audio information retrieval
    • No permanent download needed
  • Used for many news and radio broadcasts
    • Ex: (live radio broadcasts)
  • Real Audio and Windows Media Player are the most common players
  • Some websites have audio information available for download free of cost
    • Usually stored on their own personal storage space
online network drives
Online network drives
  • Good for sharing audio information between people on the same network
    • Students on a residence hall network
    • Employees at work on the same network
  • Positives
    • Fast transfer between computers
  • Negatives
    • No transfers if network is down
    • Virus transmittal
clip art
Clip Art
  • Good for finding audio information for presentations or laughs
  • Power Point has a built in sound clip organizer which you can query by text
audio search content based retrieval
Audio Search:Content-Based Retrieval
  • New developments and technologies allow querying IR mechanisms by audio
  • New audio mining (aka audio indexing) tools allow both speech processing and search technology all in one package
    • Data can be time stamped and queried later by speech or by text
    • Good for referencing logged business calls
audio search content based retrieval cont
Audio Search: Content-Based Retrieval (cont.)
  • New device by Philips Electronics in the Netherlands (hope to hit consumer market 2004)
    • Microphone device captures your voice
      • “Audio fingerprints” are determined
    • Melody query then is sent to a database
    • Results are returned
    • Good for finding a song you don’t

know by name but know by tune

audio search content based retrieval cont25
Audio Search: Content-Based Retrieval (cont.)
  • Attributes of an audio signal used to index
    • Amplitude - the maximum amount of displacement of a particle on the medium from its rest position
    • Frequency - how often the particles of the medium vibrate when a wave passes through the medium
audio search content based retrieval cont26
Audio Search: Content-Based Retrieval (cont.)
  • Other attributes used to index audio information
    • Average energy: loudness of audio signals
    • Bandwidth: frequency range of a sound
    • Brightness: Midpoint of the energy distribution of a sound
    • Harmony: In harmonic sound the spectral components are mostly whole number multiples of the lowest, and most often, the loudest frequency. The lowest frequency is called fundamental frequency
    • Pitch: how high a sound is; use fundamental frequency as an approximation
audio search content based retrieval cont27
Audio Search: Content-Based Retrieval (cont.)
  • Positives
    • Quick and easy searching of databases
    • Less problems with text labeling
  • Negatives
    • Sometimes there are difficulties with speech and sound recognition
the future of audio ir
The Future of Audio IR
  • Unanswered Questions
    • Will faster computers = faster audio IR and search mechanisms?
    • What direction will the new audio IR systems head towards? Content-based retrieval or text based retrieval?
    • How will new file storage mediums and new compression methods affect audio IR?
    • What will the impact of querying by audio be once the software hits the commercial market?
  • After Napster: The Beat Goes On. Retrieved November 25th from
  • Anonymous (2002, November). Name that tune. Technology Review, Cambridge. Volume 105, issue 9, page 18.
  • Anonymous (2002). The Phsyics Classroom. Retrieved December 4th from
  • Data Compression. Stanford University. Retrieved November 24th from
  • Gerard, Mike (2002). Security Risks of Peer-to-Peer Software across the Internet. Retrieved November 23rd from
  • Mitchell, Robert L (2002, August). Search engines break the sound barrier. Computerworld. Volume 36, issue 32, page 34.
  • Napster by all the top cartoonists. Retrieved November 17th from
  • Shankland, Stephen (2001, April). Sun to show peer-to-peer software. CNET Retrieved November 25th from
  • SHN FAQ. Retrieved November 24th from
  • Wang, Wanshuang. Indexing and Retrieval of Multimedia Data. Retrieved December 4th from