Autonomous agents are self-guided programs that traverse the net to obtain the data they are being programmed with. They are very useful because their distributed nature make them powerful without requiring huge computer power.
In the last years new capabilities have been added, so a more general term to describe them is "intelligent agent". Under certain circumstances, they could make choices to adapt their work to the characteristics of the sites they visit. This programmed behavior applied to large samples is likened to an intelligent action (more or less).
"Agent" or "bot" ("robot" usually refer to hardware) are really small o very small programs designed to carry out repetitive tasks (second generation tools) in a network autonomously from the client computer (the key element).
There are a large number of technical papers about this hot topic in the web, but we selected those more practically-oriented, detailing projects of possible application to scientometric work.
BotSpot is perhaps one of the most interesting resources, because it considers mainly practical aspects and possible applications, focusing on products already working or available for evaluation. Three sections are specially interesting:
Other interesting sites: