Towards a Reference Ontology of Trust

  • Glenda AmaralEmail author
  • Tiago Prince Sales
  • Giancarlo Guizzardi
  • Daniele Porello
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11877)


Trust is a key component of relationships in social life. It is commonly argued that trust is the “glue” that holds families, societies, organizations and companies together. In the literature trust is frequently considered as a strategic asset for organizations. Having a clear understanding of the notion of trust and its components is paramount to both trust assessment and trust management. Although much progress has been made to clarify the ontological nature of trust, the term remains overloaded and there is not yet a shared or prevailing, and conceptually clear notion of trust. In this paper we address this issue by means of an in-depth ontological analysis of the notion of trust, grounded in the Unified Foundational Ontology. As a result, we propose a concrete artifact, namely, the Reference Ontology for Trust, in which we characterize the general concept of trust and distinguish between two types of trust, namely, social trust and institution-based trust. We also represent the emergence of risk from trust relations. In addition, we make a comparative analysis of our Reference Ontology to other trust ontologies. To validate and demonstrate the contribution of our approach, we apply it to model two application examples.


Trust Ontological analysis Unified foundational ontology 



CAPES (PhD grant# 88881.173022/2018-01) and OCEAN project (UNIBZ).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenda Amaral
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tiago Prince Sales
    • 1
    • 2
  • Giancarlo Guizzardi
    • 1
  • Daniele Porello
    • 2
  1. 1.Conceptual and Cognitive Modeling Research Group (CORE)Free University of Bozen-BolzanoBolzanoItaly
  2. 2.ISTC-CNR Laboratory for Applied OntologyTrentoItaly

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