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The MISSION system utilises query agents, in particular the matching and negotiation agents that are responsible for pre-integration where the matching agent decomposes the query into sub-queries, and then searches metadata to find datasets that match the query fragments. Such an approach provides a capability of automating the process of executing queries on heterogeneous statistical databases that are distributed over the Internet. The novelty lies in the provision of automated methods for statistical aggregation, where the heterogeneity essentially resides in the classification schemes of categorical data, including both heterogeneity of nomenclature and heterogeneity of granularity. In addition, our solution permits queries to be specified in a goal-driven query-by-example format. Rather than impose an a priori global standard, the user can query through a unified interface where integration is done at run-time.