Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Unifying distributed databases for B2B

While consumer e-commerce has produced few big winners, there is still enormous potential for B2B electronic marketplaces serving vertical sectors. MetaVista is a new product for publishing online a variety of catalogues, texts or multimedia content held on locally or remotely distributed data servers.
Unifying distributed databases for B2B
The MetaVista architecture allows users to conduct commercial transactions through a single Internet interface even when the different forms of content are held on geographically distributed systems. Thus it is well suited for building B2B e-commerce systems from Internet portals to vertical marketplaces.

By unifying heterogeneous information and supporting filtering and security rules, MetaVista allows users to interact securely and efficiently with different types of data on a variety of servers independent of location. The user can search different kinds of content; from catalogues to commercials, without needing to know types or attributes.

The MetaVista system comprises an Access Server (ACS), for processing user enquiries and routing requests to distributed peripheral systems, and a Data Server (DAS) that translates the queries for the local database and returns the published data to the user via the ACS. Both servers provide for HTTP and Z39.50 interfaces and support most operating systems, web servers and relational databases, including Sun, HP, IBM and Microsoft platforms.

Interoperability is provided through full compliance with the ISO 23950 standard for information retrieval. The DAS can operate as a Z39.50 server, while the ACS acts as both client and server while intermediating between Z39.50 clients and Z39.50 servers. Open Archive Initiative Metadata Harvesting (OAIPMH) and Search Retrieval URL/Web Service (SRU/SRW) protocols are also supported, with OpenURL compliance planned to be available soon.
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