Ontology for Representing Human Needs

Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 786)


Need satisfaction plays a fundamental role in human well-being. Hence understanding citizens’ needs is crucial for developing a successful social and economic policy. This notwithstanding, the concept of need has not yet found its place in information systems and online tools. Furthermore, assessing needs itself remains a labor-intensive, mostly offline activity, where only a limited support by computational tools is available. In this paper, we make the first step towards employing need management in the design of information systems supporting participation and participatory innovation by proposing OpeNeeD, a family of ontologies for representing human needs data. As a proof of concept, OpeNeeD has been used to represent, enrich and query the results of a needs assessment study in a local citizen community in one of the Vienna districts. The proposed ontology will facilitate such studies and enable the representation of citizens’ needs as Linked Data, fostering its co-creation and incentivizing the use of Open Data and services based on it.


Human needs ontology OpeNeeD Needs Satisfiers Need studies Representation Linked data 



This work is funded through the project 855407 by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) under the program “ICT of the Future” between Nov. 2016 and Apr. 2019. Soheil Human is supported by the Jubilee Fund of the City of Vienna.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Information BusinessVienna University of Economics and Business (WU Wien)ViennaAustria
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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