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Lei DuFollow

Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Information Systems and Technology


Information and Decision Sciences

First Reader/Committee Chair

Dr. Joon Son


Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) establishes a new paradigm in digital identity management by empowering individuals to own and control their data. Within an SSI framework, users store their identity information on personal devices and share it with service providers on a strictly need-to-know basis, with explicit consent. This Culminating Experience Project sets out with two primary objectives: firstly, to construct an ontological model of SSI that integrates the collaboration of its core components for secure verification; and secondly, to develop a knowledge base through the application of this model to a real-life scenario.

In developing the SSI ontological model, we identify essential components such as Verifiable Credentials (VC), Verifiable Presentations (VP), and the verification processes utilized by verifiers. Firstly, we provide a background overview of SSI with a real-life example. Then, utilizing Protégé, an ontological tool, we model each component, incorporating Semantic Web Rule Language (SWRL) rules to not only streamline the construction of the Ontology but also to enhance the overall efficiency of the implementation. This systematic approach yields a robust and comprehensive SSI Ontology model.

We then demonstrate the utility of our Ontology model through its application to a practical scenario. By devising a real-life example relevant to SSI, we generate specific instances within our Ontology to construct a knowledge base. This instantiation process illustrates how our Ontology can execute queries and retrieve pertinent information, highlighting the practicality and effectiveness of our Ontology modeling.

Looking forward, our future endeavors will focus on expanding the Ontology model to include peer-decentralized identifiers (Peer DIDs), which highlight direct, peer-to-peer interactions, and incorporate the concept of delegation. In this context, delegation refers to the process whereby an identity holder authorizes another party to act on their behalf within the digital identity framework. This enhancement aims to broaden the model’s scope and depth, allowing it to accommodate more complex and comprehensive scenarios.