Daffodil : Distributed Agents for User-Friendly Access of Digital Libraries

The Internet makes searching for literature in Digital Libraries (DLs) feasible. However, often a user has to contact several DLs to satisfy a given information need. This leads to usability problems due to the heterogeneity of the DLs. One aspect is that the information structures of the systems differ. In fact, relevant information may be spread across several DLs. The other aspect of heterogeneity is differing browsing and searching functionality, of course presented to the user through different user interfaces and query languages. We demonstrate Daffodil, a system of distributed agents for user-friendly access to Digital Libraries, which overcomes these problems. Daffodil integrates several DLs freely accessible through the Internet to present to the user a single virtual DL. In addition to unifying access points and user interfaces Daffodil also produces synergies while exploiting different DLs: information from different DLs about the same document in different DLs is merged. Further Daffodil combines the functions of the underlying DLs in order to provides high-level search and browsing functions. As a systematization of Daffodil’s functionality we use Bates characterization of information search activities on four levels of abstraction [2]:


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