Mauricio B. Almeida
Graduate Program in Information Science
Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG)
FOIS-IAOW, Rio de Janeiro, September 2014
D-Acts Basic Information
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Mathias Brochhausen
• University of Arkansas for Medical Science, United States
Mauricio B. Almeida
• Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil
Laura Slaughter
• Oslo University Hospital, Norway
D-acts is based on Basic Formal Ontology and Information Artifact Ontology
Thanks to Barry Smith and Ontology Research Group of University at Buffalo for the
support
D-acts ontology is underway research and the last version is available in:
http://d-acts.googlecode.com/svn/tags/2012-07-06/d-acts.owl
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Agenda
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Context and Goals
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Ontological Analysis of Document Acts
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What are Document Acts?
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Reinach on Social Acts and Declarations
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Formal Ontology of Claims and Obligations
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Claims and Obligations in Applied Ontology
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Types of Document Acts and Participant´s Roles
Outlining Document Act Ontology
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
I-Context and Goals
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Documents are pervasive throughout social life
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They are crucial entities for all organizations
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A wide range of documents is required to carry out activities in
healthcare organizations
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Medical procedures trigger processes in which forms are filled in,
reports are filed and labels are created
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Most documents are used to record data...
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... but some are bearers of additional properties...
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Context and Goals
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Beyond recording data...
Documents as bearers of properties:
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Give rise to new sorts of commitments
Can create rights or obligations (e.g consent form)
Can induce the adoption of technical procedures (e.g. guidelines)
Our Goal: to provide a formal representation of documents in
the social context
Foundations: we are based on the document acts theory to
explain the social impact of documents (Smith 2012)
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
II-Ontological Analysis of Document Acts
II-1) What are Document Acts?
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Language is used to make statements
J. L. Austin (British Philosopher, 1911-1960)
Speech acts theory (Austin, 1962)
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we can use language to do other things beyond describing reality
a)“I grant Mr. Harris the right to purchase 10 tablets containing 5 mg of lorazepam”
b)“I promise, I will take you to the prom”
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Those sentences do not describe anything in the world
They are neither true nor false
They enable something to be done: they are performances of acts
They are performative sentences (Austin, 1962)
After Austin  John Searle (American Philosopher, 1932-)
Before Austin  Adolf Reinach (German Philosopher, 1883-1917)
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Ontological Analysis of Document Acts
II-2) Reinach on Social Acts and Declarations
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Reinach theory is rooted in phenomenological inquiry into
social activity
It focuses on experiences that involve spontaneous internal
activity by the originator of the act
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These specific acts are called spontaneous acts
Examples of experiences: deciding, forgiving, asking, commanding
Two types of spontaneous acts:
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Internal acts: do not need to be communicated (e.g. forgiving)
Social acts: They need to be perceived (e.g. declaring)
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Ontological Analysis of Document Acts
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Reinach´s declarations (Bestimmungen) are referred as:
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Legally issued norms (Paulson 1987)
Declarations itself
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Legally issued norms are declarations of what ought to be
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Declarations (legal domain)
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Are not judgments, so they are neither true nor false
Can create or demolish reality: couldn´t create the entirety of reality,
but it adds one entity to reality
Origin of legal entities: it creates claims and obligations
But... they bring about claims & obligations outside the law
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a person's promise to join another person for a walk
creates an obligation
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creates a claim
a promise outside the law is a declaration of how things ought to be
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Ontological Analysis of Document Acts
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Claims and obligations (Reinach, 1989)
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Need a sufficient reason, which is the declaration
Obligations (social entities) differ from natural entities
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Natural entities can be perceived without the need to go back to the cause of
the entity
Social entities need to be traced back to their causes
Documentation of the cause for claims and obligations is one of
the driving forces in the development of documents
“Documents are the means that allow social
relations based on social acts to become
enduring entities”
(Smith 2012)
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Ontological Analysis of Document Acts
From the Reinach´s efforts to define social actions and socio-legal
entities  Smith´s Theory of Document Acts
“[…] a theory of document acts supplementing the traditional
Reinach-Austin-Searle theory of speech acts with an account of the
ways in which, by doing things with documents [...] we are able to
change the world by bringing into being new types of ownership
relations, of legal accountability, of business organizations, and
[...]”
(Smith 2012)
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Ontological Analysis of Document Acts
II-3) Formal Ontology of Claims and Obligations
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What is the ontological status of claims and obligations?
Some considerations:
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2.
3.
4.
Reinach affirms that social entities are real and bona fide entities
Since the social entities are real (according to Reinach) we do not
need to deal with them by using physical proxies (as Searle does)
Smith agrees with Reinach (1) and desagree whith Searle for (2)
Our formal ontology is based on Smith´s insights
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Ontological Analysis of Document Acts
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Claims and obligations are dependent entities: they need a
person to perform them
a) The content of Oliver Twist
Depends on the copy of Oliver Twist on my desk
b) The color of my shirt
Depends on my shirt
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Claims and Obligations are transferable
They depend on the existence of some bearer of a specific
type...
... but they do not depend on one particular bearer
Generically Dependent Entities...
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Ontological Analysis of Document Acts
II-4) Claims and Obligations in Applied Ontology
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Adopting an upper ontology: Basic Formal Ontology (BFO)
Substantial entities
Processual entities
SNAP Perspective
SPAN Perspective
Entities that endure through
time while maintaining their
identity
Entities that happen, unfold,
or develop in time
E.g. human individual, the color of a
ripe apple, the Berlin Wall, ...
E.g. the process of respiration, a
whole human life,...
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
SNAP perspective recognizes
three major categories of
continuants
The exhibition or actualization
of a realizable entity is a
particular manifestation,
functioning or process that
occurs under certain
circumstances.
E.g. the role of being a doctor, the
function of the reproductive
organs, the disposition of metal to
conduct electricity, ...
Generically Dependent
Continuants are not
realizable entities
Realizable entities are
subtype to Specifically
Dependent Continuants
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Ontological Analysis of Document Acts
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Inconsistency between BFO and Reinach´s theories?
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In BFO, generically dependent continuants are not realizable entities
In Reinach´s social ontology claims and obligations are realizable
Ontological theory of Generically Dependent Continuants in
Information Artifact Ontology (IAO)
Part of IAO Taxonomy (Ruttenberg 2009)
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Ontological Analysis of Document Acts
Part of IAO Taxonomy (Ruttenberg 2009)
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Ontological Analysis of Document Acts
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According to IAO:
generically dependent continuants (GDCs)
Depend on
specifically dependent continuants (SDCs)
Depend on
independent continuants
Individual GDCs need to be concretized as individuals of the type SDCs
IAO does not restrict concretization to hold only between GDCs and qualities
...
E.g. 1 – The color of my shoes
E.g.2 – A pattern of ink on paper that concretizes the content of Oliver Twist
... but allows concretization of GDCs as realizable entities
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Ontological Analysis of Document Acts
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Example
John claims a piece of land (unclaimed before)
This act creates John's claim to the specific piece of land
This claim is concretized as John's role as claimant of the land
John's claimant role can be realized in multiple ways
(e.g. leasing the land to a third party)
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The claimant role can also be realized in the process of selling the land
Once John sells the land to Mary, his claimant role goes out of
existence and...
... now the claim is concretized in a new role, Mary's claimant role
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Ontological Analysis of Document Acts
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So...
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the claim does not depend on individually or specifically bearer, or better,
on the bearer of its concretization
The dependence is generic: there is no claim without a bearer of its
concretization
Claims and obligations are, in the terminology of BFO, GDCs
Thus...
Claims and Obligations
Depend on
Socio-legal GDCs (SGDCs)
GDCs
Depend on
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Ontological Analysis of Document Acts
In IAO, the only subtype to GDC has been information
content entity (ICE)
Socio-legal GDCs
We are proposing this...
How are SGDCs different from ICEs?
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Ontological Analysis of Document Acts
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SGDCs migration from one person to another is different
from the ICEs migration
ICEs often migrate by being concretized as qualities that
inhere in material information bearers
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E.g: ICEs can be copied, thus creating multiple copies of one
particular ICE at one time
In SGDCs, the first role goes out of existence and the claim is
concretized in a new role
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E.g. John's claimant role goes out of existence when selling the land
to Mary, and it is replaced by Mary's claimant role.
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Ontological Analysis of Document Acts
II-5) Types of Document Acts and Roles
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Relations between a document-act and a SGDC
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A document-act creating a SGDC
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A document-act transferring a SGDC
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E.g. John transferring his claim to Mary
A document-act revoking a SGDC
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E.g. John claims a piece of land
E.g. A judge signing divorce papers previously filled in by a couple
Specific roles and the bearers involved
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The creators of the document template
The users of the document
The target bearers of the concretizations of the SGDCs created by
document acts
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
III-Outlining Document Act Ontology
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Implementation of Document Act Ontology (d-acts)
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Imported Classes
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organization (http://purl.obolibrary.org/obo/OBI_0000245)
organism (http://purl.obolibrary.org/obo/OBI_0100026)
realizes (http://purl.obolibrary.org/obo/BFO_0000055)
homo sapiens (http://purl.obolibrary.org/obo/NCBITaxon_9606)
aggregate of organizations (http://purl.obolibrary.org/obo/OMRSE_00000033)
collection of organisms (http://purl.obolibrary.org/obo/OMRSE_00000022)
collection of humans (http://purl.obolibrary.org/obo/OMRSE_00000023)
is-aggregate-of (http://purl.obolibrary.org/obo/OMRSE_00000020)
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
III-Outlining Document Act Ontology
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Implementation of Document Act Ontology (d-acts)
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Created classes
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socio-legal generically dependent continuant
social act
declaration
document act
declaration performer role
declaration target
document act template creator role
legally revokes
legally transfers
Some other classes came from IAO
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Outlining Document Act Ontology
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socio-legal generically dependent continuant
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Def. SGDCs are GDCs that come into existence through declarations
and are concretized as roles [...]
Equivalent class: is_specified_output_of SOME declaration
Superclass: generically dependent continuant
Examples: the claim to a piece of land; the obligation to pay rent to
the owner of a rental propert
social act
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Def.: A process that is carried out by a self-conscious being and is
spontaneous, directed towards another conscious being, and needs to
be perceived.
Superclass: processual entity
Examples: Captain Peter giving Sergeant Schultz an order; Jake
promising Jill to take her to the junior prom
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Outlining Document Act Ontology
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declaration
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Def.: A social act that brings about, transfers, or revokes a socio-legal
generically dependent continuant [...]
Equivalent class: (legally revokes SOME socio-legal generically
dependent continuant) OR (legally transfers SOME socio-legal
generically dependent continuant) OR (has_specified_output
SOME socio-legal generically dependent continuant) AND
has_agent SOME ((Homo sapiens OR organization OR collection
of humans OR aggregate of organizations) AND bearer_of SOME
declaration performer role) AND realizes SOME declaration
performer role
Superclass: social act
Examples: my consenting verbally to buy a used TV set for $500; Jane´s
signing of the divorce papers
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Outlining Document Act Ontology
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document act
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Def.: A declaration that is made using a document to temporally
extend the effects of the declaration.
Equivalent class: (legally revokes SOME socio-legal, generically
dependent continuant) OR (legally transfers SOME socio-legal,
generically dependent continuant) OR (has_specified_output
SOME socio-legal, generically dependent continuant) AND
has_agent SOME (Homo sapiens OR organization OR collection
of humans OR aggregate of organizations) AND
has_specified_input SOME document AND has_specified_output
SOME document)
Superclass: declaration
Examples: filling in an immigration form; a judge signing and stamping
a court order
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Outlining Document Act Ontology
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declaration performer role
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Def.: A role inhering in a human being or an organization [...] that is
realized by the bearer being the agent in a declaration
Superclass: role, inheres in SOME (Homo sapiens OR organization
OR aggregate of organizations OR collection of humans) AND
is_realized_by ONLY declaration
Examples: a judge's role of signing a court order, a hospital
committee's role to sanction conformance to a specific guideline for
hospital employees.
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Outlining Document Act Ontology
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declaration target
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Def.: The human being [...] that is the bearer of a concretization of a
socio-legal generically dependent continuant brought about by or
transferred in a specific document act
Equivalent class: (Homo sapiens OR organization OR aggregate
of organizations OR collection of humans) AND bearer_of
SOME ((is_concretization_of SOME socio-legal, generically
dependent continuant) AND participates_in SOME declaration)
Superclass: material entity
Examples: me as bearer of a spouse role who participates in a
document act; John as bearer of a debtor role who participates in a
document act
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Outlining Document Act Ontology
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document act template creator role
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Def.: A role that inheres in a human being [...] that prepares a
document that is the specified input to a document act and is the
input document of a document act
Superclass: role, inheres in SOME ((Homo sapiens OR
organization OR aggregate of organizations OR collection of
humans) and is_realized_by ONLY (process AND
has_specified_output SOME (document AND participates_in SOME
document act)))
Examples: the role of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service
realized by the creation of an immigration form being filled in; the role
of a national professional association realized by the creation of a
clinical guideline to be certified
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Outlining Document Act Ontology
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legally revokes
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Def.: s socio-legally revokes s if s participates in d, and at the end of d, s no
longer exists
Domain: declaration
Range: socio-legal generically dependent continuant
Super property: has_participant
Characteristics: Functional, Asymmetric, Irreflexive
legally transfers
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Def.: d socio-legally transfers l if l participates in d and d has specified input
and specified output , and the concretizations are not identical.
Domain: declaration
Range: socio-legal, generically dependent continuant
Super property: has_participant
Characteristics: Functional, Asymmetric, Irreflexive
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Part of hierarchy of d-acts (Brochhaussen, Almeida and Slaughter, 2013)
Part of hierarchy of d-acts (Brochhaussen, Almeida and Slaughter, 2013
Part of hierarchy of d-acts (Brochhaussen, Almeida and Slaughter, 2013
Use case
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Blood transfusion services: the consent letter that legally enables
the blood donation process
A consent letter is the specified input of the document act of
the patient's consenting to blood donation
The clerk responsible for the blood donation process is the
bearer of the document act template creator role.
The blood donation candidate is the bearer of the declaration
performer role.
A nurse responsible for the medical procedures is the
declaration target since she becomes endowed with the right
to perform procedures enabling the patient to donate blood (for
instance drawing blood from the patient's arm)
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
Thank you!
[email protected]
http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
http://ppgci.ufmg.br/en/
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
References

Austin, J. L. (1975). How to Do Things with Words, 2nd ed., Cambridge/Mas.:
Harvard University Press (1st ed. Clarendon, 1962).

Brochhausen, M. Almeida, M.B., Slaughter, L. Towards a formal representation of
document acts and the resulting legal entities. in C. Svennerlind, J. Almäng,
R.Ingthorsson, Johanssonian Investigations, Ontos-Verlag, 120-139.

Johansson, I. (1989) Ontological Investigations, London, New York: Routledge.

Paulson S. L. (1987). "Demystifying Reinach's Legal Theory", in K. Mulligan (ed.),
Speech Act and Sachverhalt, Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, 133-154.
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Reinach, A. (2012), The Apriori Foundations of the Civil Law. Edited by John F.
Crosby. Frankfurt: ontos Verlag.

Smith, B. (2012) "How to Do Things With Documents", Rivista di estetica, 50
(2/2012), LII: 179-198.

Spear, A. D. (2006) Ontology for the twenty-first century: an introduction with
recommendations, Available from http://ifomis.org/bfo/manual.pdf
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Ruttenberg, A. (2009) Information Artifact Ontology, Available from
https://code.google.com/p/information-artifact-ontology/
Prof. Mauricio B. Almeida – http://mba.eci.ufmg.br/en/
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