A Semantic Web-Based Information Integration Approach for an Agent-Based Electronic Market

A Semantic Web-Based Information Integration Approach for an Agent-Based Electronic Market

Maria João Viamonte (Porto Polytechnic Institute, Portugal) and Nuno Silva (Porto Polytechnic Institute, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-060-8.ch086


With the increasing importance of e-commerce across the Internet, the need for software agents to support both customers and suppliers in buying and selling goods/services is growing rapidly. It is becoming increasingly evident that in a few years the Internet will host a large number of interacting software agents. Most of them will be economically motivated, and will negotiate a variety of goods and services. It is therefore important to consider the economic incentives and behaviours of e-commerce software agents, and to use all available means to anticipate their collective interactions. Even more fundamental than these issues, however, is the very nature of the various actors that are involved in e-commerce transactions. This leads to different conceptualizations of the needs and capabilities, giving rise to semantic incompatibilities between them. Ontologies have an important role in Multi-Agent Systems communication and provide a vocabulary to be used in the communication between agents. It is hard to find two agents using precisely the same vocabulary. They usually have a heterogeneous private vocabulary defined in their own private ontology. In order to provide help in the conversation among different agents, we are proposing what we call ontology-services to facilitate agents’ interoperability. More specifically, we propose an ontology-based information integration approach, exploiting the ontology mapping paradigm, by aligning consumer needs and the market capacities, in a semi-automatic mode. We propose a new approach for the combination of the use of agent-based electronic markets based on Semantic Web technology, improved by the application and exploitation of the information and trust relationships captured by the social networks.

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