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This is a detailed description of one of the general General Use Case Categories abstracted from the possible Use Cases.

1. Abstract

This use case is not about interchange of rules between people. It is about interchange of rules between tools that support people, referred to as “rule specification and editing systems” in the discussion below. Its value has two aspects:


Excluded from this General Use Case Category

Included in this General Use Case Category


This rule can be expressed formally, but will not be automatically applied (at least, not with the technology currently in use in car rental companies). It will be applied by people who work in EU-Rent.

There are two important aspects of this. First, people who apply rules need decision support. For example, EU-Rent staff would need criteria for judging whether a driver is intoxicated; SBVR (and, I think, REWERSE) would categorize these as structural rules.

Second, people don’t always do what they are supposed to, so enforcement will be needed. This may have two levels:

For both types of enforcement, there may be rules that escalate the penalty for repeated offences.


There is a need for interchange of rules directed at people as well as for interchange of automatable rules. This general use case category, “Interchange of Human-oriented Business Rules”, is for rules editing systems that support rules that are meant to be understood by people, regardless of whether such rules can be automatically enforced or applied by computers.

“Organization to Organization” Rule Interchange

What is common about the “Interchange of Human-oriented Business Rules” general use case category is that it deals with all the regulations, actionable policies, rules, terms & condition, etc. that occur in the real world running of any kind of organization, including governmental, not for profit, educational organizations, etc.

This rule interchange is between of different organization units within an organization or between organizations. It occurs at the micro level between rule editing systems of different work groups, and at the macro level between rule editing systems of national governments and multi-national corporations.

In addition, businesses are increasingly reliant on external sources regarding their policies and rules. For example:

The Rules Interchange Format is needed for interchange of rules in these situations between the tools of an organization and external bodies, or between different units within a distributed organization.

“Organization to IT System” Rule Interchange

Organizations, which manage their business policies and rules as part of governing and operating their organization and/or specifying their products and services, want to delegate the execution and enforcement of a significant part of their rules to information systems.

An organization requiring technology support for such rules would need:

  1. Tools to store, organize and quality-assure human-oriented business rules. Most businesses have lots of these rules, originating in different parts of the business, and many of them are inter-related. My example rule affects EU-Rent’s terms and conditions for car rental, its employment contracts, its insurance contracts, and its regulatory compliance policies, to name just the obvious ones. Businesses need tools (better than Word and Excel) to integrate the rules, to categorize them, and to support analysis of overlap, redundancy and conflict - which requires their interpretability in formal logic. This requires a repository in which the rules can be stored in semantic structures that enable analysis and classification, with functionality to support searching, queries, comparison, checking for conflicts and overlaps, etc. It should also support recording of issues and conflicts discovered and decisions on how to resolve them taken by the organization. The tools themselves are outside our scope. The industry is developing them in response to the OMG’s SBVR (“Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules”) specification.
  2. Support for creating technology solutions:
    • transforming automatable rules to machine-processable form
    • mapping non-automatable rules to IS functions that support the people who have to apply the rules
    There are also two things to think about for the bigger picture. One is that the business intent expressed in the human-oriented business rules is the source of many of the automated rules that are more ‘mainstream’ to the RIF WG. The other is that many human-oriented business rules can be more-or-less directly automated. For example:
    • “If a rental car is dropped off at a location other than the agreed return location, a penalty charge must be added to the rental cost”
    There is the basis here for a continuum from business motivation to deployment of automated rules, but we should probably postpone discussion of it until after we have established the basic requirements for supporting human-oriented rules.

2. Status

Implementations for "Organization to Organization" Rules Interchange

Implementations for "Organization to IT" System Rules Interchange

Implementations for Interpretation and Interchange of "Regulations"

3. Links to Related Use Cases

“Organization to Organization” Rule Interchange Related Use Cases

“Organization to IT System” Rule Interchange Related Use Cases

4. Relationship to OWL/RDF Compatibility

The class of rule systems that this use case refers to is based on the integration of linguistics and predicate logic. Although the linguistics aspect loosely follows a descriptive logic approach, it has not be formalized as such. The integration of and/or mapping rules for first order predicate logic and .description logic, which seems to be a generic challenge to the creation of the RIF, is the point where this use case touches on OWL/RDF compatibility.

5. Examples of Rule Platforms Supporting this Use Case

“Organization to Organization” Rule Interchange Platforms

“Organization to IT System” Rule Interchange Platforms

6. Benefits of Interchange

“Organization to Organization” Rule Interchange Benefits

“Organization to IT System” Rule Interchange Benefits

7. Requirements on the RIF

“Organization to Organization” Rule Interchange Requirements

“Organization to IT System” Rule Interchange Requirements

8. Breakdown

8.1. Actors and their Goals

“Organization to Organization” Rule Interchange

“Organization to IT System” Rule Interchange

8.2. Main Sequence

Provide the typical course of events, ordered as below in a sequence of steps.

  1. First step of sequence

  2. ...

  3. Last step of sequence

8.3. Alternate Sequences

Describe possible variations of the main sequence in separate subsections, assigning a title to each.

8.3.1. (Title of Alternate Sequence)

Describe the alternate sequence, referring to the steps in the main sequence above if convenient (to avoid repetition).

9. Narratives

Describe possible scenarios illustrating the use case in separate subsections, assigning a title to each.

9.1. (Title of Narrative)

Describe an individual scenario. Samples rules and other test data may be optionally included.

10. Commentary

Comments, issues, etc. Again, note that the wiki automatically keeps a revision history.