Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Personal Information Service

Interactive Information Service. The SAID "interactive" information access point uses intelligent agents technology to elaborate filtered lists of topics personalised according to each user¿s profile (see figure). The user can navigate through the information tree while the system automatically prunes the search path in order to present to the user only those options that are potentially interesting for him. Each topic is automatically classified according to his personal preferences and a graphical rank mark is presented to aid the user in his selections (only in the Java Client). At any moment the user may command the system to stop searching and present a suggestion or present the unfiltered list of topics (only in the Java Client).

As opposed to the "Active" information service, the Interactive service requires the user to take the initiative to ask the system for information and search for subjects potentially interesting for him. The Interactive Information service is based on an aided search engine. It is based on a search tree approach involving topics and sub-topics whose contents may change dynamically. The topics lists are personalised according to the user profile. That is, each user will have a different search tree (both in the core nodes and its leaves) depending on its original user profile and information the system has acquired automatically about the user. The system supports both: topics added to the lists automatically by the intelligent agents and topics manually introduced in the system by, for example, the social assistant. Using this approach search processes are simplified and search times are dramatically reduced. See the Agent's Server section in this document for more information on the intelligent agents capabilities. The Final Prototype supports a search tree with an unlimited number of levels.

Active Information Service. The SAID "active" information service is implemented via pop-up suggestions appearing on the screen while the user is watching his favourite TV program. The service is active because information comes to the user without the need to explicitly request it. The intelligent agents software permanently monitors the net for topics of potential interest for the user. When it detects something interesting a suggestion is sent to the user (e.g. I know you like opera. Would you like information about an interesting play near your home?). First a flashing icon alerts the user the system has something for him. Then it is his option to attend the request and watch the pop-up message superimposed on the TV program. Suggestions can have associated questions becoming a powerful method the Agents software can use to get feedback from the users about their preferences in order to refine the user profiles. The Social Assistants can also send suggestions to the users. Great care is taken to assure suggestions are little disturbing (e.g. not too frequent), relevant (important for the user, timely delivered) and issued whenever possible within the context of the current TV program.

We must point out the active information system is not a kind of push advertising. On the contrary, the SAID active information system has a whole community of intelligent agents components working in the background for the benefit of each user with no relation to third parties or interests strange to the user's benefit.

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