- Dictionary Terms—Part VIII: Multimedia Part 2
The New Media Dictionary project  was born out of the desire to name and define the many and varied forms of art that have developed in conjunction with technology. A whole lexicon is being created to describe the many processes, techniques, instruments, and critical and aesthetic concepts—in short, the entire emerging culture—of this immense laboratory workshop.
The terms selected for this issue form Part 2 from the field of Multimedia. The initial dictionary installment for Multimedia terms appeared in Leonardo 36, No. 1. The terms and definitions have been chosen by the Groupe de recherche en arts médiatiques (GRAM).
Interested artists and researchers are invited to submit additions and comments to Section Editor Louise Poissant . These contributions will be added to the electronic version of the dictionary, with credit to the author. In this way, the New Media Dictionary will gradually become a collective project, in which each significant contribution will find its place.
These definitions were prepared by Jean Dubois and Suzanne Leblanc. Project director: Louise Poissant. Translator: Lou Nelson.
MAZE—a web of connections typical of computerized communications networks and of the navigational pathways used in hypertext and hypermedia programs. The maze metaphor is widely used, especially in video games.
MEDIA LAB—a research center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology working in the field of cyberspace and related technologies, particularly computer graphics, hypermedia, virtual reality, electroacoustic music, and networks.
MEMEX—a memory extension system using associative indexing and links to other similar systems. The memex system was originated by Vannevar Bush, who described it in an article called "As We May Think," published in 1945. It was intended to help cope with the information explosion, which was evident even then. The memex project was never completed, but its main features, including the multimedia nature of the information and the creation of links as pathways between information resources, resurfaced some 20 years later during research on hypertext and hypermedia. The memex is considered the forerunner of these concepts.
MEMORY MACHINE—a concept for the spatial organization of computerized data. Memory machines are based on the idea that information can be organized spatially. Using virtual reality and hypermedia navigation, these machines structure databases to resemble buildings and even urban environments.
MESSAGE SWITCHING—a data transmission method that uses intermediate links or switches at which the data can be stored before being forwarded to its final destination. This technique is also called store-and-forward (commutation, stockage et retransmission).
MOTHERFRAME—the main node in a hypertext or hypermedia program.
MULTIMEDIA—See "New Media Dictionary Part I," Leonardo33, No. 2 (2000).
MULTI-PLATFORM—software that can run on different kinds of computers using different operating systems. IBM and Macintosh are examples of two types of computers that use different operating systems: DOS and Windows, for example, in the first case and one of the many versions of the Macintosh operating system in the second.
MULTISCREEN—a multimedia application that uses a number of projection screens. Each screen can show an independent image or part of a larger image.
MULTI-SENSORY ENVIRONMENT—an environment in which a number of the user's senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste) detect or receive feedback from various elements.
NANOTECHNOLOGY—technology in which circuits and machines, called nanocircuits and nanomachines, are built on the scale of individual atoms and molecules (nanometric), rather than at the micrometric scale of groups of atoms and molecules (a thousand times larger than the nanometric scale), as is the case in microelectronics. The term molecular technology (technologie moléculaire) is also sometimes used.
NARROWCASTING—the use of a cable network to provide specialized television programming to a precisely targeted and relatively small audience.
NATURAL LANGUAGE—human language. May refer to any one of the many languages spoken in the world.
NEON—a rare gas most commonly used in discharge lamps. The term "neon" has entered the popular vocabulary to refer to the discharge tubes used in illuminated signs. Neon produces red light and also...