Text-based scientific research draws on a number of standard techniques to create references between items of text. Such references enable the scientific community to find common ground and work together coherently.
In contrast, details of images have only been localised using fairly conventional means, with position and identity being described and delimited using either symbols (pointer, arrow, circle) or words (foreground, background, left/right, top/bottom). Although the web supports the use of clickable maps to describe image details, this still involves a great deal of work all of which needs to be done by hand. Typically therefore, image references have always been reduced to addressing the image as a whole.
Techological enhancements elaborated in the HyperImage project now allow any number of details, or subregions, within an image to be highlighted and described, and link annotations within a corpus to each other, making them accessible in indices. Interim results as well as final versions can be compiled at any time as an online/offline hypermedia publication. Various separate procedures and data repositories have been introduced and tested. These have been merged in HyperImage to comprise either an individual or a common research and publication environment.
Target groups for such an instrument include researchers and academics in all disciplines that work intensively with images. Both single projects as well as institutions have been integrated as pilot users in the development and evaluation of HyperImage and its components.