5 Simple Provenance Statements

Providing easily processable information about the provenance or origins of Web pages and data is important. It lets us give credit where its due and it helps others trust the information we publish on the Web.

Here’s some simple provenance statements one can make using PROV-DM, the recently released working draft of a data model for provenance from the W3C.

Before getting into the examples, a couple of notes:

  • We are still working on cleaning it up and simplifying the presentation of the data model.
  • The exact namespace we will use is still being sorted out.

1) Derivation

Here’s how we would say that a blog post that was derived from a longer report.


@prefix ex: <http://www.example.org/>.
@prefix prov: <http://www.w3.org/ns/prov-o/>.

ex:post prov:wasDerivedFrom ex:report.

2) Summarization

Maybe the blog post was actually a summary of the longer report. Here’s how we would say that using PROV-DM.

@prefix ex: <http://www.example.org/>.
@prefix prov: <http://www.w3.org/ns/prov-o/>.

ex:post prov:wasSummaryOf ex:report.

3) Attribution

We can provide more details and say that a blog was attributed to a particular person, Paul. Here, we use FOAF to know that the URI identifies a person.

@prefix ex: <http://www.example.org/>
@prefix prov: <http://www.w3.org/ns/prov-o/>
@prefix foaf: <http://xmlns.com/foaf/0.1/>

ex:post prov:wasAttributedTo ex:Paul.
ex:Paul a foaf:Person.

4) Generation

We may like to say that the blog post was generated by a publication activity. Here’s how we do that:

@prefix ex: <http://www.example.org/>.
@prefix prov: <http://www.w3.org/ns/prov-o/>.

ex:post prov:wasGeneratedBy ex:publicationActivity.

5) Participation

Finally, we may want to say that Paul participated in the publication activity that generated the blog post.

@prefix ex: <http://www.example.org/>.
@prefix prov: <http://www.w3.org/ns/prov-o/>.

ex:post prov:wasGeneratedBy ex:publicationActivity.
ex:publicationActivity prov:hadParticipant ex:Paul.

The Provenance Working Group is looking for your feedback. In particular, we are looking to see if we can cover your use cases. Also, we are looking for other simple provenance vocabulary terms that might support your needs. Let us know.

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