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Important results of scientific studies in life sciences are traditionally communicated through journal publications. Internet provides a venue for multimedia journal articles, mostly implemented as textual documents containing hyperlinks to video clips, 3D images, etc.
We propose tools for authoring and viewing the next generation of multimedia documents: Interactive Publications (IP). An IP is a self-contained multimedia document, which, in addition to presenting a study and its results, provides access to the underlying data and a possibly to manipulate the data, thus becoming a research tool.
The authoring tool (Forge) and the viewer (Panorama) are being implemented in Java using the Eclipse Rich Client Platform, work with PDF files, and provide an opportunity to view, link, and manipulate data, as well as to customize the tool through a set of graphic controls and transparently to the user. The tool is configured internally through XML files that define the media location and the views to be presented. Panorama currently supports: charts, graphs, and built-in basic statistics as overlays on charts; video with chapters; multi-slice clinical images in the DICOM format; 3D rendering; and an integrated browser.
The Elsevier Grand Challenge, 2008 was a contest created to improve the way scientific information is communicated and used. The Interactive Publications Research Group submitted Panorama, our visualization/analysis tool to this contest, and was selected as one of 9 finalists.