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Product finding on the semantic web: A search agent supporting products with limited availability

Andreas Langegger (Institute of Applied Knowledge Processing, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Linz, Austria)
Wolfram Wöß (Institute of Applied Knowledge Processing, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Linz, Austria)

International Journal of Web Information Systems

ISSN: 1744-0084

Article publication date: 28 September 2007

657

Abstract

Purpose

There is still little support for the consumer decision‐making process on the web, especially when prices are not the primary property of a product. Reasons for that are complex product specifications as well as often volitional weak interoperability between e‐commerce sites. This paper aims to address this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The semantic web is supposed to make product information more interoperable between different sites. Additionally, some products with limited time frames of availability, like real estates or second‐hand cars, require periodical searches over several days, weeks, or even months. For those kinds of products existing systems cannot be applied. Instant information about new offers on the market is therefore crucial. Wireless access to the web enables services to become instantaneous and to provide up‐to‐date information to users.

Findings

This paper presents a framework which is based on multivariate product comparison allowing users to delegate search requests to an agent. The success of the agent depends heavily on the matching algorithm. Fuzzy utility functions and the analytical hierarchy process are a very feasible combination for the scoring of offers.

Originality/value

The proposed system supports users finding products on the web matching specific user preferences and instantly informs them when new items become available on the virtual market. As a specific use case the framework is being applied to the real estate sector, because especially for this sector several shortcomings of the current support have been identified.

Keywords

Citation

Langegger, A. and Wöß, W. (2007), "Product finding on the semantic web: A search agent supporting products with limited availability", International Journal of Web Information Systems, Vol. 3 No. 1/2, pp. 61-88. https://doi.org/10.1108/17440080710829225

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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