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Several authors have claimed the need of the IS community to theorize the IT-artifact as their core subject matter. In a research project on the evolution of inter-organizational information systems over large-time scales this lack of theorization became problematic. In fact it became evident that the notion of change or stability requires a sharper theorization of the artifact than currently found in the literature. As a result, this paper sets its aim to provide a new theoretical conceptualization of the IT-artifact in inter-organizational systems. The lack of sufficient theorization of the IT-artifact is established by analyzing several accounts of studies on information systems change in the literature. The notion of identity and its philosophical venue is being introduced as a promising requirement for theories of information systems change. Although not fully developed it is shown that it promises a more thorough analysis of IOIS in theory and in empirical studies. It provides guidance for theory development and empirical work not only in regard to IOIS but IS in general. Although not being prescriptive in nature the identity concept may be helpful in explaining systems failure.