Image Number 4 for United States Patent #7216120.
An information collection apparatus working as an agent of a plurality of client terminals for collecting information from an information providing server. A plurality of requested-item lists are stored in the requested-item list table, one for each client terminal. Each requested-item list is composed of a plurality of requested-items identifying a plurality of information items to be obtained by each client terminal. An information manager, which has the function of a combining processor, combines the contents of a plurality of requested-item lists to create a collection list. The collection list is composed of a plurality of collection items identifying a plurality of information to be collected by the information collection apparatus. The collection list is stored in a collection list table. An information collection processor actively references the information providing server to check if information has been updated, based on the collection list. Updated latest information is collected in this way. The collected latest information is delivered to corresponding one or more client terminals.