Practical Contract Storage, Checking, and Enforcement for Business Process Automation

  • Alan Abrahams
  • David Eyers
  • Jean Bacon
Part of the International Handbooks on Information Systems book series (INFOSYS)


We show how Kimbrough’s Disquotation Theory, a formal theory about sentences that embed propositional content, can be profitably applied to the creation of computational environments for monitoring and enforcing electronic commerce contracts using pervasive, mainstream industrial technologies such as Java and relational databases. We examine the notion of an occurrence and provide a structural representation of this abstraction. We show how contractual provisions - obligations, permissions, prohibitions, and powers - can be stored, monitored, and enforced. Detailed examples illustrate how a query coverage-determination mechanism can be used to check inter-organizational contractual provisions against internal policies and external legislation for dynamic conflicts. The work presented here demonstrates that an extended version of Kimbrough’s theory presents a novel and promising means of storing interrogable and executable specifications for e-commerce workflow applications.


Propositional Content Deontic Logic Thematic Role Active Database Business Contract 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Abrahams
    • 1
  • David Eyers
    • 2
  • Jean Bacon
    • 3
  1. 1.Computer LaboratoryUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Computer LaboratoryUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Computer LaboratoryUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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