MPEG-7 has ignited interest in industry with broad interests in media, content management, content provision, broadcasting, computers, telecommunications, as well as researchers and academia. Overall, the MPEG-7 standard is currently in a fairly mature stage and is on its way to final standardization later this year. The pace of progress in development of MPEG-7 has been quite frantic. This special issue provides snapshot of the status of MPEG-7 technology as of around April 2001. This special issue contains only invited papers from experts who are involved in MPEG-7 standardization. It is designed to be useful to beginners as well as experts alike as it covers various topics at different depths.