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Abstract

The premise of software agents to define the structural and operational models of the virtual marketplace of the future can account for the increased interest regarding their application in areas where they can add substantial value in terms of automation and functionality. At the heart of such a marketplace rests an ontology modeling the domain upon which a nucleus of agent-based services can be constructed. Negotiation services hold the dominant position in terms of the attention they have received in research. Complementary to them, but no less important, are the advising services representing support functionality that is required throughout the cycle of a deal; from the expressed intention of the two parties to eventual maturity and closure. In this paper we focus on research trends and on their possible future development for ontologies and the above service categories emphasizing on the role of software agents in this context. A review and analysis of past and present works helps to formulate sets of questions that future research will seek to address.

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