ERCIM News No.25 - April 1996 - CLRC
Insitutions lending Money for House Purchase starting to use the Web
by Keith Jeffery
On 28 February '96 RAL was invited as one
of six speakers to address representatives from UK financial institutions
who lend money to house-buyers. There is increasing interest in WWW technology
for businesses in UK and this seminar was typical of several others.
The main message from all speakers was:
The talk concentrated particularly on obtaining information and discussed
the full range of possibilities for assisting the end-user in accessing
information. It covered the use of client bookmarks / hotlist entries, the
use of pages of tail anchors as a personal or corporate catalogue or index,
the use of indexing services such as Lycos or Yahoo and demonstrated their
general ineffectiveness in obtaining relevant information compared with
an information retrieval system or a database system. It then went on to
discuss interfacing existing or new information retrieval or database systems
to WWW including using WWW as a liberator of legacy systems and providing
a cross-platform GUI to information sources. The use of forms and CGI (Common
Gateway Interface) programs was discussed and generated a lot of interest.
- this is a new, large, important marketing and business channel
- at present it can be (and is) used for advertising products and services
- it is already possible to use it for financial transactions (with
a security level similar to buying theatre tickets with a credit card over
- with the adoption of common security procedures (now the two competing
groups led by Visa and Mastercard have reached agreement) financial transactions
will be secure.
The session also covered the more advanced techniques of query refinement
using a knowledge-based system and the assembly of a consolidated hyperlinked
multimedia answer from heterogeneous information sources as demonstrated
in the ESPRIT project 6542 MIPS.
WWW on the internet was disccused (external, public) and the intranet (internal,
corporate, private) and techniques for firewalling between the two domains.
It is predicted that the WWW browser interface will evolve, with the use
of Java-enabled browsers, as an intelligent client for controlling information
access and update.
Keith Jeffery - CLRC
Tel: +44 12 35 446103
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