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Retrieving images from large and varied collections using image content as a key is a challenging and important problem. In this paper we present an image representation which provides a transition from the raw pixel data to a small set of localized coherent regions in color and texture space. This so-called "blobworld" image description may be thought of as a summary representation which captures the basic compositional features of the image. An important and unique aspect of the system is that, in the context of similarity-based querying, the user is allowed to view the internal representation of the submitted image. Similar systems do not offer the user this view into the workings of the system; consequently the outcome of many queries on these systems can be quite inexplicable, despite the availability of knobs for adjusting the similarity metric.

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