VITAS explore the possibility to build a personal information provider able to: search, retrieve, format and present the information of different nature stored in a number of medias, basically text and audiovisual material. The application proposed automatically searches for the requested information based on the acquired user profile, it suggests the user the possibility to present it on the screen and based on his response it updates the user profile. The system supports two modes: “active” (on the initiative of the system) and “interactive” (trigger by the user).

In the first case, the intelligent agents’ module periodically confronts the information in the user profile with information that can be found on-line (web, broadcasts) in search for topics of interest for the user. If an interesting topic is found, the system notifies it to the user by means of the VITAS suggestion mechanism together with a summary of the information and a ranking describing the priory interest of the topic. If the user desires to receive the complete information, the system displays it on screen and it reinforces the weight of the topic in the user profile. The “active” information system is meant as a generic information engine. However, this basic functionality can be used to implement several different target specific applications: personal newspaper, intelligent information browser, etc.

The “interactive” mode, on the other hand, consists on an aided information browser where the user is led by the agent’s community to the piece of information his is looking for. Using the information in the user profile the agents prunes the navigation tree so that only the promising paths are offered to the user; thus speeding searches and reducing the complexity of the search process. At every moment, the system displays the ranking of the different paths available and the possibility to ask for a suggestion (i.e. suggest me something appropriate at this level) or request the complete (unfiltered) list of topics.


VITAS and the VITAL project were co-financed by the European Commission.