Unit 3.1 Multimedia Basics
History of the term
The term "multimedia" was coined by Bob Goldstein to promote the July 1966 opening of his "LightWorks at L'Oursin" show at Southampton, Long Island. On August 10, 1966, Richard Albarino of Variety borrowed the terminology, reporting: “Brainchild of songscribe-comic Bob (‘Washington Square’) Goldstein, the ‘Lightworks’ is the latest multi-media music-cum-visuals to debut as discothèque fare.” Two years later, in 1968, the term “multimedia” was re-appropriated to describe the work of a political consultant, David Sawyer, the husband of Iris Sawyer—one of Goldstein’s producers at L’Oursin.
Multimedia (multi-image) setup for the 1988 Ford New Car Announcement Show, August 1987, Detroit, MI
In the intervening forty years, the word has taken on different meanings. In the late 1970s the term was used to describe presentations consisting of multi-projector slide shows timed to an audio track. However, by the 1990s 'multimedia' took on its current meaning.
In the 1993 first edition of McGraw-Hill’s Multimedia: Making It Work, Tay Vaughan declared “Multimedia is any combination of text, graphic art, sound, animation, and video that is delivered by computer. When you allow the user – the viewer of the project – to control what and when these elements are delivered, it is interactive multimedia. When you provide a structure of linked elements through which the user can navigate, interactive multimedia becomes hypermedia.”
The German language society, Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache, decided to recognize the word's significance and ubiquitousness in the 1990s by awarding it the title of 'Word of the Year' in 1995. The institute summed up its rationale by stating "Multimedia has become a central word in the wonderful new media world" In common usage, the term multimedia refers to an electronically delivered combination of media including video, still images, audio, text in such a way that can be accessed interactively. Much of the content on the web today falls within this definition as understood by millions. Some computers which were marketed in the 1990s were called "multimedia" computers because they incorporated a CD-ROM drive, which allowed for the delivery of several hundred megabytes of video, picture, and audio data.
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