Document Type : Articles


MSc., MACP, Senior Assistant Librarian, University of Colombo Library, University of Colombo, Colombo 07


The aim of this study is to discuss and critically review the Intelligent Agents (IA) and their recent developments. The report will particularly focus on the area of Intelligent Agents and information retrieval and how this technology is aiding users of databases. This report commences with a discussion of what Intelligent Agents are and it reviews the qualities they are generally expected to have and settles on the definition of an intelligent agent as a software entity. IA possess basic qualities such as autonomy, co-operation and learning. Then the report critiques the current state of IA technology by examining the technological, social, ethical and some of the legal issues. It further examines the implications of this technology for the reason that computer and information professionals have already recognised that there are a number of problems and issues surrounding the IA terminology and technology which must be resolved as soon as possible in order to acquire the utmost benefit from this technology. Although the Agents offer substantial advantage to users, the very nature of the IA paradigm leads to a number of ethical, social, technical and legal problems, common to all agent-based applications.