ImageCLEF - The CLEF Cross Language Image Retrieval Track


ImageCLEF aims to provide an evaluation forum for the cross–language annotation and retrieval of images. Motivated by the need to support multilingual users from a global community accessing the ever growing body of visual information, the main goal of ImageCLEF is to support the advancement of the field of visual media analysis, indexing, classification, and retrieval, by developing the necessary infrastructure for the evaluation of visual information retrieval systems operating in both monolingual, cross–language and language-independent contexts. ImageCLEF aims at providing reusable resources for such benchmarking purposes.

ImageCLEF launched in 2003 as part of the Cross Language Evaluation Forum (CLEF) with the goal is to provide support for the evaluation of 1) language-independent methods for the automatic annotation of images with concepts, 2) multimodal information retrieval methods based on the combination of visual and textual features, and 3) multilingual image retrieval methods, so as to compare the effect of retrieval of image annotations and query formulations in several languages.

ImageCLEF has already seen participation from both academic and industry research groups worldwide from various communities including: (visual) information retrieval, cross–lingual information retrieval, computer vision and pattern recognition, medical informatics, human-computer interaction, etc.

More information on past and current ImageCLEF campaigns can be found here:

ImageCLEF organisers

ImageCLEF was originally proposed by Mark Sanderson and Paul Clough from the Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield. However, today ImageCLEF is organised and ran (mostly voluntarily) by a much larger number of individuals and research groups.

Overall coordination

  • Bogdan Ionescu, University Politehnica of Bucharest, Romania, bionescu(at)
  • Henning Müller, University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland in Sierre, Switzerland, henning.mueller(at)

Technical support

  • Ivan Eggel, University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland, Sierre, Switzerland, ivan.eggel(at)


Many older publications related to ImageCLEF are available here.


Many organisations and individuals have supported ImageCLEF, but in particular we thank:

  • Dr. Carol Peters (co-ordinator of CLEF) for continual support and help in the organisation of ImageCLEF.
  • Dr. Thomas Deselaers for his help in past ImageCLEF editions (2004-2008) and for support of the ImageCLEF web pages.
  • The Khresmoi, Chorus+ and Promise projects for their support.