Results of the Provenance WG first F2F Meeting

The Provenance Working Group had its first Face-to-Face (F2F) meeting last week in Boston after 3 months of hard work. First, thanks to the W3C for hosting us in a nice venue with a great view over Boston and Cambridge.

Leading up to the F2F, the group has been working on a number of different things in the context of four task forces:

  • The Model Task Force – is responsible for developing a standard model for representing provenance on the Web.
  • The Provenance Access and Query Task Force – looks at how to access provenance information within the Web architecture
  • The Connection Task Force – is responsible for ensuring that the group reaches out to the communities and other standards efforts and reflects their requirements
  • The Implementation and Test Cases Task Force – is responsible for encouraging the implementation of the spec and ensuring that implementations can be tested compliant with the forthcoming standards.

Each task force reported on their progress at the F2F. Both the Model and Provenance Access and Query Task forces created discussion documents that will form the basis of the working groups first public draft due in September. For both task forces, the group uses a Data Journalism scenario as reference point to discuss and debate issues. This scenario incorporates a number timely issues related to both Linked Data publication as well as licensing.

The Implementation Task Force along with the Connection Task Force created catalogs of stakeholders. The Implementation Task Force sent out a questionnaire to the broader community receiving 34 responses. You can find the survey results here. Some highlights include that 27 of the respondents are interested in generating W3C compatible provenance and that for every major programming language there is someone interested in developing a toolkit to support W3C provenance.

Going Forward:

For September, the aim of the Model Task Force is to have a simple draft spec for the conceptual provenance along with a light weight OWL ontology. The group will strive towards making the ontology easy to query in SPARQL. The overall goal of the task force is to have a model that lets one represent provenance for a variety of use cases while still making the model easy to get started with for developers.

The Provenance Access and Query Task will also prepare a draft spec for how to simply access provenance given a document in particular focused on HTML documents to start.

The Implementation Task Force and Connection Task Force are both producing reports . The Implementation Task Force will produce a report identifying implementation stakeholders and the key issues they have. They will be sending out a new questionnaire to a broader audience aimed at getting more results. Be on the look at for that. The Connection Task Force report will concentrate will describe the outreach strategy for the group as well focus on connections to targeted communities including licensing, identity, W3C groups and science.

Overall, as chairs, we appreciated the positive and constructive attitude of everyone in the group. We think the group is on track to provide a core piece of the puzzle for helping people with their provenance needs on the Web.

Paul Groth & Luc Moreau

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