This paper starts by introducing a class of future document authoring systems that will allow authors to specify the content and form of a text+pictures document at a high level of abstraction, while leaving responsibility for linguistic and graphical details to the system. Next, we describe two working prototypes that implement parts of this functionality, based on semantic modeling of the pictures and the text of the document; one of these two, the ILLUSTRATE prototype, is a multimedia extension of previous text authoring systems in the What You See Is What You Meant (WYSIWYM) tradition. The paper concludes with an exploration of the ways in which Multimedia WYSIWYM can be further enhanced, allowing it to approximate the ‘ideal’ systems that were sketched earlier in the paper. Applications of Multimedia WYSIWYM to general-purpose picture retrieval (in the context of the Semantic Web, for example) are also discussed.
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