Architecture for the Information Brokerage in the ACTS Project GAIA
RFC 2552

Document Type RFC - Informational (April 1999; No errata)
Was draft-rfced-info-blinov (individual)
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Network Working Group                                          M. Blinov
Request for Comments: 2552                                   M. Bessonov
Category: Informational                                     C. Clissmann
                                                           Teltec UCD-CS
                                                                 Ireland
                                                              April 1999

                Architecture for Information Brokerage
                        in the ACTS Project GAIA

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (1999).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   This memo introduces a domain and supplier independent generic
   architecture for information brokerage, designed as part of the ACTS
   project GAIA (Generic Architecture for Information Availability).

1. Introduction

   Today a huge number of goods and services are offered on the
   electronic market by a large, and ever-increasing, number of
   suppliers.  However, there is still no efficient way for a customer
   to find a product or information, he/she is interested in and a
   supplier that can provide that product.  Customers and suppliers
   already can not deal with the quantity of available information by
   themselves.  The high heterogeneity of existing protocols, formats,
   and underlying networks also limits development of the electronic
   market.

   This results in a demand for brokerage systems that can work as
   intermediary entities between customers and content suppliers.
   Brokerage systems assist a customer during the trading process and
   hide the heterogeneity and distribution of information from the
   customer.  The design of domain and supplier independent generic
   architecture for such brokerage systems is an objective of the
   project GAIA (Generic Architecture for Information Availability).
   GAIA received part funding from the EU ACTS programme for Research
   and Technological Development.  The GAIA brokerage system allows a
   customer to

Blinov, et al.                                                  [Page 1]
RFC 2552                          GAIA                        April 1999

   - search for a particular "product" (information, content or
     services) that he/she is interested in
   - locate the product, i.e. find supplier(s) from whom the product is
     available
   - order the product from the supplier
   - receive delivery of the product by digital means

   All these actions are carried out by the broker in response to
   requests from the customer.  Broker services are accessible to the
   customer through the unified user interface.  The customer system
   does not have to support all the protocols involved in the trading
   process.

   Full specification of the GAIA Architecture is available in the GAIA
   Standard [1].  The GAIA Standard includes a description of the GAIA
   Reference Model, GAIA Functional Architecture, GAIA Standard
   Profiles, and specification of the GAIA interfaces.

   This memo does not aim to include the whole text of the GAIA
   Standard, but to present the basic ideas and concepts of this
   standard.

   The structure of this memo follows the structure of the GAIA
   Standard:

   1.  The GAIA Reference Model provides a common basis for the
       description and specification of brokerage systems, including the
       GAIA system.

   2.  The GAIA Functional Architecture defines functional elements of
       the GAIA Broker, their roles and relationships.

   3.  The GAIA Brokerage System Interfaces describes internal and
       external interfaces of the GAIA brokerage system.

   4.  The GAIA Standard Profiles specifies mandatory and optional
       profiles to which brokerage systems may conform.

2.  The GAIA Reference Model

   The Generic Architecture for Information Availability (GAIA)
   Reference Model outlines the operations and actors involved in
   finding, ordering, and delivering physical and digital objects and
   services ("Products") in a global brokered distributed information
   environment.  It provides an overall view of the GAIA environment,
   and illustrates the respective roles of and relationships between its

Blinov, et al.                                                  [Page 2]
RFC 2552                          GAIA                        April 1999

   components.  Further work on standards and frameworks for individual
   components of the GAIA environment uses the model and terminology
   provided by the Reference Model.

   The GAIA environment is a collection of actors and functions that are
   combined to support a procedure for information and services
   discovery, order, and delivery.  The actors play roles in the
   procedure, including initiation and execution of the Actions which
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