White book

The white book process was kick-started in the Personal Information Management Services -meetup in Paris on April 26th 2016. This page is an open invitation to contribute to the book. If you are willing to contribute, please fill in the this call for action -form. Feel free to pass this link to other potentially interested contributors.

Yes I want to contribute to the white book

Why and for whom?

Working vision for the white book is: Harmonizing principles and explaining the motivations for personal data management via excellent communication.

It will be a neutral and objective source of information that does not promote any individual product, incentive or approach. The process of compiling the white book will establish a common vocabulary and a “central source of truth” in the community of businesses and initiatives that currently develop solutions and advocate for human-centric personal data.

Main target group are the professionals who need solid overview on the emerging field. It will also include examples and stories that explain the core concepts for wider audiences.

For the professional readers such as businesses, advocate/ policy/ technical/ funding communities and affected industry sectors (finance, IoT, mobility, retail, etc.).

  • Aim is to increase awareness on how the changes in personal data management can help to improve trust, data logistics and privacy, as well a create new value for individuals as well as corporations.
  • Main form of usage is a findable and trusted source of information for the professionals that are looking for background information on personal data management

For general audience and journalists and others who will communicate the topic to wider public.

  • Aim is to storify the main concepts with examples that are catchy and memorable.
  • Main form of usage is indirect – the white book should be clear and understandable to anybody from individual’s perspective (all the readers are individuals after all).


The white book will be an overview text about the industry dynamics and overall progress in human- centric personal data management with concrete value proposals and use cases. It will provide newest insights from within the industry (utilize the European Commission roundtable questionnaire as starting point). We will use a “Landscapes and roadmaps” approach so that we can describe both the current landscape and (on the basis of this) the probable future roadmaps.

Names and definitions (see. Action 1)

Currently, the domain with similar core ideas is referred with many different names and concepts (see: http://bit.ly/white-book-names ), making it difficult for an outsider to understand the big picture. We will collect the terms in one place and shed light to their similarities, differences and origins.

White paper of white papers (see Action 2)

Most of the ideas are already published and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Instead we curate relevant and good content from existing pivotal documents and focus strongly on quality of both texts and visuals.

Questions and answers (see Action 3)

In the Paris meetup we started to create content for the white book by crowd sourcing questions that the white book could give answers to and rating the importance of those questions.

Some of the top rated questions were: Where is the value for users, for companies, for public agencies? What is the landscape (now) and what is the roadmap (future)? What are the economic drivers and business models that will sustain this emerging market? See all questions in this link and suggest new questions and rate the others here.

This process will be continued by:

  1. Crowdsourcing more questions from different stakeholders
  2. Fine tuning, grouping and organizing the questions;
  3. Starting to crowd source proto-answers to most important questions.

Static resource will lose validity over time

We acknowledge that the field is in phase of rapid evolution and the book needs to be updated regularly. Some parts may remain valid for longer than others such as the general principles, current landscape or dominant business models. Instead of trying to make the white book “ever green” we should aim for maximal impact in advancing, shaping and harmonizing the field as it is now and in the near future. We will also provide supplementary online materials (micro site) that can be continuously updated.


You can be part of the book. Producing content for the white book is open and collaborative process facilitated by core editorial team (Currently: Antti Poikola, Aalto University; Kai Kuikkaniemi, Aalto University; Daniel Kaplan, FING and Tanel Mällo, STATS Unities). We wish to get wide group of contributors from the community. Various levels of involvement are possible ranging from occasional commentator to member of the editorial team. Facilitation process is funded by the ongoing research projects, other contributions are voluntary – we are looking for external funding for travel costs, design, editing etc.

In many cases it is (unfortunately) more important who says or writes something than the content itself. Therefore it is crucial to create credible identity for the publication, which clearly indicates that the publication can be used as “independent source” and it does not involve vested interests of one or few parties. Our approach for the this challenge is three-fold:

  1. Open and transparent writing process
  2. Aggregate identity, giving credit for everyone’s contribution
  3. Publisher – we are looking for high impact publishing channel for the white book.


The white book is targeted to be published by the end of 2016. Material for the white book will be collected intensively during and after the MyData 2016 conference (Aud 31st – Sep 2nd). Facilitators will organize ongoing online collaboration and regular face-to-facemeetings for the interested collaborators  in conjunction with other relevant events.

If you would like to follow and participate in this process, please move on and fill in the call for action -form by the end of May.

Yes I want to contribute to the white book