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Metabroker: A Generic Broker for Electronic Commerce

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Steve Caughey, David Ingham, Professor Paul WatsonORCiD


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From a commercial perspective, the Web has promised much more than it has delivered and the dream of worldwide Internet business enterprises has yet to become a reality. Electronic commerce currently resembles a vast, sprawling bazaar in which visitors must wander through countless market stalls. For most potential customers, this is frustrating and time-consuming. In traditional commerce, middlemen, or brokers, make it easier for customers to find, compare and buy because they aggregate goods and services from a variety of sources and display them in a way which is helpful to customers. In the electronic marketplace of the near future, there are likely to be large numbers and varieties of brokers. We believe that the widespread and rapid deployment of brokering services depends upon the availability of building blocks which are sufficiently generic that they can be tailored to produce a wide range of specific brokers. We call this collection of building blocks a generic broker. If such a generic broker framework is not available then specialised brokers will be implemented in an ad-hoc manner with a consequent wastage of effort, while their construction will be beyond the resources and skills of many companies who would otherwise benefit from them. In this paper we present the design of the Metabroker system, a generic framework for the construction of specialist electronic brokers. Our design is based upon the integration of distributed object, metadata and object database technologies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Caughey SJ, Ingham DB, Watson P

Editor(s): Ashman, H., Thistlewaite, P.

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 7th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW7)

Year of Conference: 1998

Pages: 619-620

ISSN: 0169-7552

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/S0169-7552(98)00094-4

Series Title: Special Issues 1-7: Computer Networks and ISDN Systems