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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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Jan van Til

Informatiekundig ontwerper at Gasunie

see all my answers

Best Answers in: Internationalization and Localization (1)

A rather radical way to develop Internet is to focus on the way we treat Personal Information. If we would radically treat Personal Information as Personal Property… and if we would understand and appreciate the consequences of it as outlined in the “i Charter” (see: http://www.dotindividual.com/doticharter.htm) and further explained on Primavera (University of Amsterdam): http://primavera.fee.uva.nl/PDFdocs/2006-10.pdf (please note: “iDNA-Manifesto” is synonymous with “i Charter”)… then the character of Internet would radically change because the way we deal with information – our own Personal Information and Personal Information of other Persons – radically changes. Please, do ponder that for (quite) a while.
There is much, much more to say on this broad subject, but I will leave it to mentioning the next url to you: http://primavera.fee.uva.nl/PDFdocs/2007-05.pdf. In this article an ontology is sketched for unambiguously capturing limitless behavioural variety.


1.      Information about the individual (legal) person1 is the property of that (legal) person2.

Delegation of usage rights
2.      The person may grant other parties usage rights to their person information.
      The person stipulates a usage right, e.g. authorisation, by specifying at least a. the other party; b. the purpose of usage and; c. the relevant subset of person information3.
      A usage right may include that the other party keeps a register of – a duplicate of, irrespective of the medium – person information.
      All granted usage rights become inextricably part of person information.
6.      A government institution obtains usage rights by law4.

Accountability of usage
7.      No additional permission is required for the person to inspect the usage, when applicable including how registers are kept, of their person information by the other party.
      The other party periodically, without the person’s explicit request and for each transaction, accounts for the usage of their person information to the person in question. The reporting frequency has been determined in the usage agreement.
      If the other party (also) keeps a register for the person information, an account must be included in the periodic report to the person. The reporting period has also been determined in the usage agreement.
  How a government institution accounts for usage of person information is decreed by law.

11.  The person is responsible for the quality of information subject to usage agreement(s).
  Upon receiving a signal by any other party of faulty person information, the person immediately applies correction.

Trusted (third) parties
13.  The person’s control over their person information may be restricted. Any restriction always has a legal basis4.
  The person designates a trusted party for controlling their restricted person information. The trusted party has been formally certified for its intermediary role (reflecting the requirement trust in social trans-/interactions)5.
  Upon formal declaration of the person’s contractual incapacity, rights and duties concerning their person information, too, fall to their legal representative(s).

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