What Belongs to Context?

A Definition, a Criterion and a Method for Deciding on What Context-Aware Systems Should Sense and Adapt to
  • Sélinde van EngelenburgEmail author
  • Marijn Janssen
  • Bram Klievink
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10729)


Context-awareness refers to the ability to sense and adapt to context. With the rise of context-aware systems, designers are struggling with what variables should be sensed from the context. According to the definitions found in the literature, whether something belongs to context, has to do with whether it is relevant. However, what it means to be relevant is left implicit in these definitions. Most work on context-aware systems is based on assumptions of the context that should be taken into account. Hence, it is unclear how to decide whether something belongs to context or should be left out. In this paper, first we analyse what is meant with context and provide a definition. In this definition we introduce the notion of a context variable, defined as an attribute of an object that is relevant. Context is then defined as the set of context variables. We establish explicit criteria for deciding whether an attribute of an object is a context variable based on the proposed definition and the designer’s goal. We also provide a straightforward method to help designers to determine whether the criterion is met and a variable should be included in the context. This method is based on filling out a scheme to describe context variables.


Context-aware systems Context Business-to-government Information sharing Context variable Context relationship 



The work in this paper is part of the project JUridical and context-aware Sharing of informaTion for ensuring compliance (JUST). This project is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) as part of the ISCOM programme (Innovation in Supply Chain Compliance and Border Management) under grant number 438-13-601.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Technology, Policy and ManagementDelft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

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