The PROV-O provenance ontology - Last Call

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The W3C Provenance Working Group has published, and is seeking public feedback on, the Last Call Working Draft of the PROV Ontology (PROV-O). PROV-O is a normative serialization of PROV Data Model. It provides a set of classes, properties, and restrictions that can be used to represent and interchange provenance information using the OWL2 Web Ontology Language. PROV-O is a “lightweight ontology” and conforms to the OWL-RL profile (except for five axioms, which use non-RL constructs). PROV-O terms are grouped into three categories:

  1. The Starting Point terms provide a basic set of constructs for expressing common provenance statements;
  2. the Expanded terms provide additional terms that can be used to relate classes in the Starting Point category;
  3. finally, the Qualified terms provide constructs to model binary relationships as classes that allow additional information to be associated associated with the relationships.

To cater for the specific needs of the different application domains, such as biomedicine, business, geology and law, PROV-O provides extension points, whereby PROV-O terms can be specialized using existing domain ontologies.

Compared with the Second Working Draft, the PROV-O Last Call Working Draft includes many improvements, many reflecting updates to the underlying PROV Data Model. For example, the class prov:Invalidation and associated properties have been introduced to mark the expiry of an existing entity. The property prov:mentionOf has been added to relate different provenance bundles describing the same entity. As well as such additions, some terms have been either renamed, removed or moved to a separate note; like the term prov:Trace, now called prov:Influence. The terms prov:Note, prov:startByActivity, prov:hadQuoter and prov:hadQuoted have been removed. Finally, the class prov:Dictionary and associated properties are being moved into a separate note, which will be published separately.

If you wish to make comments regarding this document, please send them to The Last Call period ends 18 September 2012. All feedback is welcome.

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