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PrimaVera Working Paper Series

PrimaVera Working Paper 2007-05

Ontology for interdependency:

steps to an ecology of information management

Pieter Wisse

March 2007

Category: academic

University of Amsterdam

Department of Information Management

Roetersstraat 11

1018 WB Amsterdam


Copyright 2007 by the Universiteit van Amsterdam

All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic of mechanical, including

photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the authors.

Ontology for interdependency: steps to an ecology of information management


Ontology for interdependency:

steps to an ecology of information management

Pieter Wisse


There’s no lack of visionaries referring to the information society. Any vision may be considered a

highly abstract design. Often to the dismay of its proponents, a particular vision’s credibility, if not

outright proof, ultimately depends largely on most practical, mundane engineering. Can it be made to

actually work? Is the information infrastructure at all feasible to reliably, readily implement it?

This paper presents as a direction for information management to widen its scope of rigorous

relevance. An ontology is sketched for unambiguously capturing limitless behavioral variety. It

requires shifting the grounding perspective to interdependency.


Information management, ontology, interdependency, metapattern, behavioral variety, semantics,

realism, semiotics, semiotic ennead.

About the author:

Pieter E. Wisse (http://www.wisse.cc) is founder and president of Information Dynamics, an independent company

operating from the Netherlands and involved in research & development of complex, civil information


Pieter holds an engineering degree (mathematics and information management) from Delft University of

Technology and a PhD (information management) from the University of Amsterdam where he is now affiliated

with PrimaVera as a research fellow. He regularly contributes working papers to the PrimaVera series.

Ontology for interdependency: steps to an ecology of information management


The trend towards ever increasing interconnectivity is unmistakable. Still severely lacking, though, is

the recognition in the first place of the need for controlled balance at the emerging global scale of

information management. With even an awareness missing, how can such balance ever be achieved?

How can especially legitimate demands for security, for authorization, auditability, etcetera be met

under qualitatively new conditions of open interconnectivity?

Information management must timely — which is now! — develop from some narrow discipline

supporting separate business and government organizations to an essentially interdisciplinary approach

covering the whole range of social interaction. A predominantly technical orientation such as

interconnectivity doesn’t do proper justice to the social variety that needs to be engaged by newly

balanced policy, etcetera. What is needed is a framework through which up to an individual citizen’s

differences are recognized as constitutive for a dynamic open society. Sufficient formalism should

guarantee both relevance and rigor. For that purpose, an ontology for interdependency is


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