Technical Reports at the Centre of Research in Computing
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Gareth Bedford. Investigating the Attractors in Off-Line and On-Line (B2C) Music Shopping. http://computing-reports.open.ac.uk/2006/TR2006-20.pdf. 2006. M801 MSC Dissertation, 2006/20,

The number of people worldwide who use the Internet has increased exponentiallyover the past few years. This has contributed to a major increase in the numberof consumers who browse for products, compare prices and purchase goods from on-line stores. Consumers can move very quickly and effortlessly between channelssuch as mail-order, on-line and off-line stores when shopping; this makes itincreasingly important for businesses with multi-channel strategies to becomemore aware of the consumer behaviour that takes place around any of the channelsthey offer. Factors that attract consumers towards a shopping channel or storecan be called attractors''. Awareness about attractors can be used to enhancethe competitiveness of a store and the quality of services available toconsumers. On-line music stores, specifically the iTunes store, have enjoyed ahuge amount of growth in recent years. This research project examines theattractors that influence consumer behaviour at the iTunes on-line store and atoff-line music stores in general. The research employs a user-centred approachto elicit these attractors. The findings of this research include a catalogue ofmusic store attractors; the attractors that are most significant are:convenience of a store (off-line attractor), the ability to find somethinginteresting or new (e-commerce attractor), and the ability to buy single tracks(on-line attractor). The research presents some analysis of the relationshipsbetween these attractors and guidelines towards the discovery of attractors. This research goes beyond user-system interaction and usability, examining the customer experience to find that other factors besides usability are involved inattracting consumers to iTunes. It also finds that off-line consumer experiencesinfluence on-line consumer behaviour and expectations.

Ben Cleyndert. The Role of Ontology in an Extendible Tool for Capturing Statistical Information. http://computing-reports.open.ac.uk/2006/TR2006-21.pdf. 2006. M801 MSC Dissertation, 2006/21,

Software systems are generally built by software development professionals who are remote from the intended user's domain. A problem with development of systems is the successful transferral of domain knowledge from the user to the software development team. Unified Modelling Language (UML) is an established common language used to facilitate this. The Semantic Web uses collaboration of agents for the completion of ad-hoc tasks. This collaboration of agents can be considered as a software system with its data and functionality being described by ontology. To overcome the problem of domain knowledge transferral, there is potential to utilise the Model Driven Architectural (MDA) approach in the creation of these ontologies to provide users with the capability to develop software systems directly.This research provides an overview of MDA and the Semantic Web and details integration of the two fields to define a unified methodology and architecture for the production of software through modelling. The MDA based modelling methodology developed produces runtime artefacts that define data structures and orchestrate software components in the delivery of system solutions. A prototype is used to evaluate the capability of the derived methodology and architecture to deliver a well-defined system derived directly from modelling techniques familiar to users exposed to UML. Evaluation of the prototype demonstrates that bespoke software systems can be created using runtime artefacts derived from modelling.


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