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About this Blog

As enterprise supply chains and consumer demand chains have beome globalized, they continue to inefficiently share information “one-up/one-down”. Profound "bullwhip effects" in the chains cause managers to scramble with inventory shortages and consumers attempting to understand product recalls, especially food safety recalls. Add to this the increasing usage of personal mobile devices by managers and consumers seeking real-time information about products, materials and ingredient sources. The popularity of mobile devices with consumers is inexorably tugging at enterprise IT departments to shifting to apps and services. But both consumer and enterprise data is a proprietary asset that must be selectively shared to be efficiently shared.

About Steve Holcombe

Unless otherwise noted, all content on this company blog site is authored by Steve Holcombe as President & CEO of Pardalis, Inc. More profile information: View Steve Holcombe's profile on LinkedIn

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Pardalis announces issuance of fourth U.S. patent

November 6, 2012 — Pardalis, Inc. announced the issuance today of the following patent by the United States Patent & Trademark Office:

  • Common point authoring system for the complex sharing of hierarchically authored data objects in a distribution chain, U.S. Patent No. 8,307,000.

The issuance of this patent represents another milestone in the continued, global expansion of Pardalis' parent patent, U.S. Patent No. 6,671,696, and its continuation patents and related applications.

The Pardalis '696 patent was issued by the United States in 2003 and is entitled Informational object authoring and distribution system. Pardalis' 696 patent is the parent patent for the Common Point Authoring™ system. The prior art that Pardalis' patents have been distinguished from stretch back to the 1987 filing of Xerox's Updating local copy of shared data in a collaborative system (U.S. Patent 5,220,657), the 1995 publication of CrystalWeb--A distributed authoring environment for the World-Wide Web (Computer Networks and ISDN Systems), and the 1999 publication of DAPHNE--A tool for Distributed Web Authoring and Publishing (the American Society for Information Science).

"The underlying philosophy of the Common Point Authoring system is to provide people with as much granular control over their information and data experience as is possible," said Steve Holcombe, CEO, Pardalis Inc. "The irony is that in order to increase the flow of proprietary information in supply chains, more granular control over that information must be provided in information sharing systems of any kind. Pardalis' patents apply to authoring by either human participants, or the machines that they automatically program, of immutable informational objects describing the pedigree of uniquely identified products in supply chains."

The critical means and functions of the Common Point Authoring™ system are directed to a system in which an author can create data which is then fixed (immutable) and users can access that immutable data but cannot change it without the creator's permission. They provide for user-centric authoring and registration of uniquely identified, immutable objects for further granular publication, by the choice of each author, among networked systems. The benefits of CPA include minimal, precise disclosures of personal and product identity data to networks fragmented by information silos and concerns over 'data ownership' about products and their ingredients or components.

"There is increasing interest in the application of social networks to the enterprise," Holcombe said. "For instance the selective sharing of Google Plus is a strong step in the direction of providing more granular controls in information sharing. has linked up with Facebook for targeted advertising delivery that will merge social and business-contact data. The Wikidata Project is creating a free knowledge base by first fixing data elements at a single location with authorizations that may be read and edited by humans and machines alike. All of these activities are pushing in the direction of providing more efficient market mechanisms for the sharing of proprietary information in the Cloud. The more granular the control over information, the greater the chances that information about products in global supply chains will be efficiently shared. The ramifications for global sustainability are tremendous."

Filings relevant to Pardalis' USPTO issued patents are being successfully pursued under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China (PRC), Europe, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand.

About Pardalis, Inc.

Pardalis' Common Point Authoring™ system provides an object-oriented solution for introducing trust and provenance in web communications. For more information, see Pardalis' Global IP.


The Tipping Point Has Arrived: Market Incentives for Selective Sharing in Web Communications

By Steve Holcombe (@steve_holcombe) and Clive Boulton (@iC)

A Glimmer of Market Validation for Selective Sharing

In late 2005 Pardalis deployed a multi-tenant, enterprise-class SaaS to a Texas livestock market. The web-connected service provided for the selective sharing of data assets in the U.S. beef livestock supply chain.  Promising revenues were generated from a backdrop of industry incentives being provided for sourced livestock. The industry incentives themselves were driven by the specter of mandatory livestock identification promised by the USDA in the wake of the 2003 "mad cow" case.

At the livestock market thousands of calves were processed over several sessions. Small livestock producers brought their calves into the auction for weekly sales where they were RFID tagged. An affordable fee per calf was charged to the producers which included the cost of a RFID tag. The tags identifiers were automatically captured, a seller code was entered, and affidavit information was also entered as to the country of origin (USA) of each calf. Buyers paid premium prices for the tagged calves over and above untagged calves. The buyers made money over and above the affordable fee per calf.  After each sale, and at the speed of commerce, all seller, buyer and sales information was uploaded into an information tenancy in the SaaS that was controlled by the livestock market. For the first time ever in the industry, the livestock auction selectively authorized access to this information to the buyers via their own individual tenancies in the SaaS.

That any calves were processed at all was not possible without directly addressing the fear of information sharing that was held by both the calf sellers and the livestock market. The calf sellers liked that their respective identities were selectively withheld from the calf buyers. And they liked that a commercial entity they trusted – the livestock market – could stand as a kind of trustee between them and governmental regulators in case an auctioned calf later turned out to be the next ‘mad cow’. In turn the livestock market liked the selectiveness in information sharing because it did not have to share its confidential client list in an “all or nothing” manner to potential competitors on down the supply chain. At that moment in time, the immediate future of selective sharing with the SaaS looked very bright. The selective sharing design deployed by Pardalis in its SaaS fixed data elements at a single location with authorizations controlled by the tenants. Unfortunately, the model could not be continued and scaled at that time to other livestock markets. In 2006 the USDA bowed to political realities and terminated its efforts to introduce national mandatory livestock identification.

And so, too, went the regulatory-driven industry incentives. But … hold that thought.

Talking in Circles: Selective Sharing in Google+

Google+ is now 1 year old. In conjunction with Google, researchers Sanjay Kairam, Michael J. Brzozowski, David Huffaker, and Ed H. Chi have published Talking in Circles: Selective Sharing in Google+, the first empirical study of behavior in a network designed to facilitate selective sharing:

"Online social networks have become indispensable tools for information sharing, but existing ‘all-or-nothing’ models for sharing have made it difficult for users to target information to specific parts of their networks. In this paper, we study Google+, which enables users to selectively share content with specific ‘Circles’ of people. Through a combination of log analysis with surveys and interviews, we investigate how active users organize and select audiences for shared content. We find that these users frequently engaged in selective sharing, creating circles to manage content across particular life facets, ties of varying strength, and interest-based groups. Motivations to share spanned personal and informational reasons, and users frequently weighed ‘limiting’ factors (e.g. privacy, relevance, and social norms) against the desire to reach a large audience. Our work identifies implications for the design of selective sharing mechanisms in social networks."

While selective sharing may be characterized as being available on other networks (e.g. ‘Lists’ on Facebook), Google is sending signals that making the design of selective sharing controls central to the sharing model offers a great opportunity to help users manage their self-presentations to multiple audiences in the multi-tenancies we call online social networks. Or, put more simply, selective sharing multiplies opportunities for online engagement.

For the purposes of this blog post, we adopt Google’s definition of "selective sharing" to mean providing information producers with controls for overcoming both over-sharing and fear of sharing. Furthermore, we agree with Google that that the design of tools for such selective sharing controls must allow users to balance sender and receiver needs, and to adapt these controls to different types of content. So defined, we believe that almost seven years since the Texas livestock market project, a tipping point has been reached that militates in favor of selective sharing from within supply chains and on to consumers. Now, there have been a lot of things happen over the last seven years that bring us to this point (e.g., the rise of social media, CRM in the Cloud, the explosion of mobile technologies, etc.). But the tipping point we are referencing "follows the money", as they say. We believe that the tipping point toward selective sharing is to be found in the incentives provided by affiliate networks like Google Affiliate Networks.

Google Affiliate Networks

Google Affiliate networks provide a means for affiliates to monetize websites. Here’s a recent video presentation by Google, Automating the Use of Google Affiliate Links to Monetize Your Web Site:

Presented by Ali Pasha & Shaun Cox | Published 2 July 2012 | 47m 11s

The Google Affiliate Network provides incentives for affiliates to monetize their websites based upon actual sales conversions instead of indirectly based upon the number of ad clicks. These are web sites (e.g., where ads are the raison d'etre of the web site. High value consumers are increasingly scouring promotional, comparison, and customer loyalty sites like for deals and generally more information about products. Compare that with websites where ads are peripheral to other content (e.g., and where ad clicks are measured using Web 2.0 identity and privacy sharing models.

In our opinion the incentives of affiliate networks have huge potential for matching up with an unmet need in the Cloud for all participants - large and small - of enterprise supply chains to selectively monetize their data assets. For example, data assets pertaining to product traceability, source, sustainability, identity, authenticity, process verification and even compliance with human rights laws, among others, are there to be monetized.

Want to avoid buying blood diamonds? Go to a website that promotes human rights and click on a diamond product link that has been approved by that site. Want to purchase only “Made in USA” products? There’s not a chamber of commerce in the U.S. that won’t want to provide a link to their members’ websites who are also affiliates of an incentive network. Etc.

Unfortunately, these data assets are commonly not shared because of the complete lack of tools for selective sharing, and the fear of sharing (or understandable apathy) engendered under “all or nothing” sharing models. As published back in 1993 by the MIT Sloan School in Why Not One Big Database? Ownership Principles for Database Design: "When it is impossible to provide an explicit contract that rewards those who create and maintain data, ‘ownership’ will be the best way to provide incentives." Data ownership matters. And selective sharing – appropriately designed for enterprises – will match data ownership up with available incentives.

Remember that thought we asked you to hold?

In our opinion the Google Affiliate Network is already providing incentives that are a sustainable, market-driven substitute for what turned out to be unsustainable, USDA-driven incentives. We presume that Google is well aware of potential synergies between Google+ and the Google Affiliate Network. We also presume that Google is well aware that "[w]hile business-critical information is often already gathered in integrated information systems, such as ERP, CRM and SCM systems, the integration of these systems itself (as well as the integration with the abundance of other information sources) is still a major challenge."

We know this is a "big idea" but in our opinion the dynamic blending of Google+ and the Google Affiliate Network could over time bring within reach a holy grail in web communications – the cracking of the data silos of enterprise class supply chains for increased sharing with consumers of what to-date has been "off limits" proprietary product information.

A glimpse of the future may be found for example in the adoption of Google+ by Cadbury UK, but the design for selective sharing of Google+ is currently far from what it needs to attract broad enterprise usage. Sharing in Circles brings to mind Eve Maler’s blog post, Venn and the Art of Data Sharing.  That’s really cool for personal sharing (or empowering consumers as is the intent of VRM) but for enterprises Google+ will need to evolve its selective sharing functionalities. Sure, data silos of commercial supply chains are holding personal identities close to their chest (e.g., CRM customer lists) but they’re also walling off product identities with every bit as much zeal, if not more. That creates a different dynamic that, again, typical Web 2.0 "all or nothing" sharing (designed, by the way, around personal identities) does not address.

It should be specially noted, however, that Eve Maler and the User-Managed Access (UMA) group at the Kantara Initiative are providing selective sharing web protocols that place "the emphasis on user visibility into and control over access by others".  And Eve in her capacity at Forrester has more recently provided a wonderful update of her earlier blog post, this one entitled A New Venn of Access Control for the API Economy.

But in our opinion before Google+, UMA or any other companies or groups working on selective sharing can have any reasonable chance of addressing "data ownership" in enterprises and their supply chains, they will need to take a careful look at incorporating fixed data elements at a single location with authorizations. It is in regard to this point that we seek to augment the current status of selective sharing. More about that line of thinking (and activities within the WikiData Project) in our earlier “tipping point” blog post, The Tipping Has Arrived: Trust and Provenance in Web Communications.

What do you think? Share your conclusions and opinions by joining us at @WholeChainCom on LinkedIn at


The Tipping Point has Arrived: Trust and Provenance in Web Communications

By Steve Holcombe (@steve_holcombe) and Clive Boulton (@iC)

"The Web was originally conceived as a tool for researchers who trusted one another implicitly. We have been living with the consequences ever since." Sir Tim Berners-Lee

"One of the issues of social networking silos is that they have the data and I don't … There are no programmes that I can run on my computer which allow me to use all the data in each of the social networking systems that I use plus all the data in my calendar plus in my running map site, plus the data in my little fitness gadget and so on to really provide an excellent support to me." Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

The tipping point has arrived for trust and provenance in web communications. And it is not just because Tim Berners-Lee thinks it is a good idea. The control of immutable data in the Cloud by content providers is on the verge of moving out of research projects and into commercial platforms. The most visible, first-mover example known to us is provided by the Wikidata Project.

The rapidly emerging Wikidata Project, the next iteration of Wikipedia, will in its first phase (to be finished within the next 6 months) implement the deposit by content providers of data elements (e.g., someone's birth date) at a single, fixed location for supporting in Phase 2 (targeted to be completed by the end of 2012) the semantic relationships (i.e., ontologies) that Wikipedia users are seeking. Paul Allen's Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Google are two of the three primary benefactors of the Wikidata Project. And it is no surprise that the base of operations for this ground-breaking work is in Germany. The European Commission proposed in January, 2012 a comprehensive reform of data protection rules to strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe's digital economy.

This blog site exists to discuss whole chain communications between enterprises and consumers. Along that line the Wikipedia folks aren't really thinking about the Wikidata Project in terms of supply chains. But that is what they are backing into. Daniel Matuschek (@matuschd) would seem to agree in his blog post, Wikidata - some expectations. Here's an excerpt:

"Some ideas for open databases that could make our live easier or better [include] Product data: Almost every product has an EAN code. There are some companies building and selling databases for specific products (e.g. food, DVDs), sometimes generated with community support .... The Wikidata project is currently not addressing [this kind of database], but if a platform is available, there’s a good chance that users start creating databases like this."

And granular permissions (in the hands of content providers) over individual data elements are on Wikipedia's wish list to be introduced later this year during Phase 2:

  • O2.5. Add a more fine granular approach towards protecting single facts instead of merely the whole entity.
  • O2.6. Export trust and provenance information about the facts in Wikidata. Since the relevant standards are not defined yet, this should be done by closely monitoring the W3C Provenance WG.

We suspect that as the Wikidata Project begins to provide "trust and provenance" in its form of web communications, they will not just be granularizing single facts but also immutabilizing the data elements to which those facts are linked so that even the content providers of those data elements cannot change them. This is critical for trust and provenance in whole chain communications between supply chain participants who have never directly interacted.

What are the other signs of the "tipping point"?

Another sign is the shift to forecasting demand certainty directly from a consumer interest graph. Walmart purchased Kosmix in 2011 to push into social commerce and to integrate products with social identity. This ia an important new way to give shoppers information, and get information from them. Analysts at the research firm Booz and Company said in a 2010 report.

“Social media, or places where people congregate to share information and mutual understanding, are replacing broadcast media as the primary way many people learn about products and services.”

"Doc" Searls, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, and a former Fellow of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, calls this a shift to the Intention Economy, Where Consumers Take Charge. Here is an excerpt from his May, 2012 publication:

Today, Walmart and Tesco and other global grocers have to wait for the checkout register to record a sale and pass the product sale information through a network of EDI processing to reforecast demand. Imagine the improvements when Walmart can see supply chain intent before the sale. Unlike Walmart, the FT calls Tesco tired.   

Indeed, Keith Teare on Tech Crunch posits Facebook's purchase of Instagram (and Google's falling earnings) signals the end of the Web 2.0 era. In the Web 2.0 era we consumed services on a web browser monetized by display ads. Now we are moving to a mobile app-centric world without desktop display ads. This is fertile ground for a shift into sharing at the identity and granular detail level via trust and provenance.

Does the Instagram purchase signal that Facebook will become a "trusted site" for granular information saved and shared in immutable objects? Facebook has to aggregate more and more data to build better services and makes its post IPO numbers. Will Facebook services come to provide W3C-type trust and provenance? We will see. But it is interesting to imagine that the Wikidata Project will be a "tipping point" for Facebook and other Web 2.0 providers toward granular trust and provenance in the Cloud.


What do you think? Share your conclusions and opinions by joining us at @WholeChainCom on LinkedIn at


Pardalis announces issuance of Canadian patent

April 20, 2012 — Pardalis, Inc. announced today the issuance of the following patent by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office:

  • Informational Object Authoring and Distribution System, Patent No. CA 2457936 issued February 28, 2012.

The issuance of this patent represents another milestone in the continued, global expansion of Pardalis' same-named parent patent, U.S. Patent No. 6,671,696, and its continuation patents and applications.

The Pardalis 696 Patent was issued by the United States in 2003 and is also entitled Informational object authoring and distribution system. Pardalis' 696 patent is the parent patent for the Common Point Authoring™ system.

The critical means and functions of the Common Point Authoring™ system are directed to a system in which a creator can create data which is then fixed (immutable) and users can access that immutable data but cannot change it. They provide for user-centric authoring and registration of radically identified, immutable objects for further granular publication, by the choice of each author, among networked systems. The benefits of CPA include minimal, precise disclosures of personal and product identity data to networks fragmented by information silos and concerns over 'data ownership'.

“Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, New Zealand and, of course, the United States are the countries that have so far issued one or more patents to Pardalis,” said Steve Holcombe, Pardalis’ CEO. “We also have high expectations for similar actions on our applications pending in Brazil, Europe and Japan.”

About Pardalis, Inc.

Pardalis' Common Point Authoring™ system provides an object-oriented solution for introducing trust and provenance in web communications. For more information, see Pardalis' Global IP.


Whole Chain Traceability: A Successful Research Funding Strategy

The following work product represents a critical part of the first successful strategy for obtaining funding from the USDA relative to "whole chain" traceability. It is the work of this author as weaved into a USDA National Integrated Food Safety Initiative (NIFSI) funding submission of the Whole Chain Traceability Consortium™ led by Oklahoma State University and filed in June 2011. This work highlights the usefulness of Pardalis' U.S. patents and patents pending to "whole chain" traceability. It highlights the efficacy of employing granular information objects in the Cloud for providing consumer accessibility to any agricultural supply chain. In August 2011 notification was received of an award ($543,000 for 3 years) under the USDA NIFSI for a project entitled Advancement of a whole-chain, stakeholder driven traceability system for agricultural commodities: beef cattle pilot demonstration (Funding Opportunity Number: USDA-NIFSI RFA (FY 2011), Award Number: 2011-51110-31044).

With the funding of the NIFSI project, the USDA has funded a food safety project that is distinguishable from the Food Safety Modernization Act projects being funded by the FDA and conducted by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). Unlike the IFT/FDA projects, the scope of the funded NIFSI project uniquely encompasses consumer accessibility to supply chain information.

A useful explanation of the benefits of a “whole chain” traceability system may be made with critical traceability identifiers (CTIDs), critical tracking events (CTEs) and Nodes as described in the IFT/FDA Traceability in Food Systems Report. CTEs are those events that must be recorded in order to allow for effective traceability of products in the supply chain. A Node refers to a point in the supply chain when an item is produced, process, shipped or sold. CTEs may be loosely defined as a transaction. Every transaction involves a process that may be separated into a beginning, middle and end.

While important and relevant data exists in any of the phases of a CTE transaction, the entire transaction may be uniquely identified and referenced by a code referred to as a critical tracking identifier (CTID). For example, with the emergence of biosensor development for the real-time detection of foodborne contamination, one may also envision adding associated real-time environmental sampling data from each node.

What is not described or envisioned in the IFT/FDA Traceability in Food Systems Report is the challenge of using even top of the line “one up/one down” product traceability systems that, notwithstanding the use of a single CTID, are inherently limiting in the data sharing options provided to both stakeholders and government regulators. Pause for a moment and compare the foregoing drawing with the next drawing. Compare CTID2 in both drawings with CTID2A, CTID2B, etc. in the next drawing. The IFT/FDA food safety projects described above are at best implementing top of the line "one up/one down" product traceability systems with the use of a single CTID. But with “whole chain” product traceability, in which CTID2 is essentially assigned down to the datum level, transactional and environmental sampling data may in real-time be granularly placed into the hands of supply chain partners, food safety regulators, or even retail customers.

The scope of “whole chain” chain information sharing within the funded USDA NIFSI project goes well beyond the “one up/one down” information sharing of the IFT/FDA projects. The NIFSI project addresses a new way of looking at information sharing for connecting supply chains with consumers. This is essentially accomplished with a system in which a content provider creates data which is then fixed (i.e., made immutable) and users can access that immutable data but cannot change it.

The granularity of Pardalis' Common Point Authoring (CPA) system (as is necessary for a “whole chain” product traceability system) is characterized by the following patent drawing of an informational object (e.g., a document, report or XML object) whose immutable data elements are radically and uniquely identified. The similarities between the foregoing object containing CTID2A, CTID2B, etc., and the immutable data element identifiers of the following drawing, should be self-evident.

For the purposes of the NIFSI funding opportunity, the Pardalis CPA system invention was appropriately characterized as a “whole chain” product traceability system.  A further, high-altitude drawing, characterized the application of the invention to a major U.S. agricultural supply chain:

Several questions were required in the USDA's NIFSI "Review Package" to be addressed before actual funding. The responses to two of those questions were crafted by this author. They are worth inserting here ....

Question 1: A reviewer was skeptical that the system would be capable of handling different levels of data (consumer, producer, RFID, bar code) seamlessly.

There is an assumption in the reviewer’s opinion that data is different because it is consumer, producer, RFID, bar code, etc. The proposed pilot project is based on a premise that data is data. The difference in data that is perceived by the reviewer is not in its categorization per se but in its proprietary nature. That is, it is perceived to be different because it is locked up (often in categories of consumer, producer, RFID, bar code, etc.) in proprietary data silos along the supply and demand chains. It is reasonable to have this viewpoint given the prevalence of "one-up/one-down" data sharing in supply chains. As stated in the Positive Aspects of the Proposal, “[t]he use of open source software and the ability to add consumer access to the tracability (sic) system set this proposal apart from other similar proposals.” The proposed pilot project will demonstrate how an open source approach to increasing interoperability between enterprise data silos (buttressed by metadata permissions and security controls in the hands of the actual data producers) will provide new "whole chain" ways of looking at information sharing in enterprise supply and consumer demand chains. For instance, consumers could opt for retailers to automatically populate their accounts from their actual point-of-sale retail purchases. Consumers could additionally populate accounts in a multi-tenancy social network (like Facebook) using smartphone bar code image capturing applications. Supplemented by cross-reference to an industry GTIN/GLN database, the product identifiers would be associated with company names, time stamps, location and similar metadata. This could empower consumers with a one-stop shop for confidentially reporting suspicious food to Likewise, consumers could be provided with real-time, relevant food recall information in their multi-tenancy, social networking accounts, and their connected smartphone applications.

Question 2: A member of the panel was skeptical that the consumer accessibility would be largely attractive as this capability currently has limited appeal among consumers.

We recognize this viewpoint to be a highly prevalent opinion within an ag and food industry predominantly sharing data in a “one-up/one-down” manner. When one uses a smartphone today to scan an item in a grocery store, the probability of being able to retrieve any data from the typical ag and food supply chain is very low. However, we have been highly influenced in our thinking by the existing data showing that many consumers do not take appropriate protective actions during a foodborne illness outbreak or food recall. Furthermore, 41 percent of U.S. consumers say they have never looked for any recalled product in their home. Conversely, some consumers overreact to the announcement of a foodborne illness outbreak by not purchasing safe foods. We have been further influenced by how producers of organic and natural products are adopting rapidly evolving smartphone and mobile technologies as a way of communicating directly with consumers, and increasing their market share. We contend that by increasing supply chain transparency with real-time, whole chain technologies, “consumer accessibility” will become more and more appealing.  We contend this to be especially true when there is a product recall and the products are already in the home. And so, again, our high interest in working with

The foregoing strategy and comments may be freely cited with attribution to this author as CEO of Pardalis, Inc. It is offered in the spirit of the "sharing is winning" principles of the Whole Chain Traceability Consortium™ (now being rebranded as @WholeChainTrace™). However, no right to use Pardalis' patent or patents pending is conveyed thereby. If you wish to be a research collaborator with Pardalis, or to license or use Pardalis' patented innovations, please contact the author.

Go to Part II