Date of defense: October 1, 1999

Advisor: Prof.Dr. R.A. Meersman

Co-Advisor: Dr. H. Weigand

Bibliographical Information

Aldo de Moor (1999), Empowering Communities: A Method for the Legitimate User-Driven Specification of Network Information Systems. Ph.D. thesis, Tilburg University, the Netherlands. ISBN 90-5668-055-2.

Copyright © Aldo de Moor 1999

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission from the author.


From the backcover:

Collaborative work is increasingly being mediated by distributed information technologies such as the Internet. However, it is difficult to make the virtual professional communities, in which this collaboration takes place, operate successfully. One of the reasons is that users are not sufficiently in control of the ongoing specification process of their continuously changing network information systems. Furthermore, changes in such an information system need to be legitimate, in the sense that they are both meaningful and acceptable to all members of the community. The focus of this thesis is on developing an approach to assist virtual professional communities in the legitimate user-driven specification of their network information systems. The main results of the research are a theoretical framework that can be used to describe and analyze legitimate user-driven system specification. Furthermore, the RENISYS (REsearch Network Information SYstem Specification) method has been developed in which these theoretical insights are used to support the actual specification process. Two cases have been analyzed using this method: one case concerned the Global Research Network on Sustainable Development, the other was about the development of an electronic law journal. The thesis is concluded with a description of a prototype tool implementing the RENISYS method.

Two longer summaries of the dissertation are available:


It is an academic tradition in the Netherlands to include a sheet with propositions (“stellingen”) with the dissertation. My propositions were the following.


A pdf-version of the complete thesis can be downloaded here.


The research reported in this thesis has been carried out under the auspices of SIKS, the Dutch Graduate School for Information and Knowledge Systems, and CentER, the Graduate School of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of Tilburg University.