A standard for provenance on the Web has been defined by the provenance working group of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), as the group publishes 12 documents supporting its use.
Provenance information - of a document, piece or set of data or a resource found on the Web - can provide an idea of the people, entities or activities involved in producing it.
“It is important that a standard for provenance is developed because it will help users determine whether they can trust data and documents on the Web,” says Professor Luc Moreau, co-chair of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) provenance working group.
Provenance touches on many different domains and applications, and encompasses things like where/who data originates from, how it has been re-used or re-purposed since then, how to give credit to its originators when reusing it, sort of like tracking its journey on the Web.
This information can be very useful for assessing how reliable or trustworthy a piece of data on the Web really is.
“On the Web, where information is mashed up and republished, where we can trust some sources more than others, provenance will allow users to decide whether information is authentic,” continues Moreau.
The provenance working group was chartered to develop a framework for interchanging provenance on the Web. The publishing of the PROV Family of Documents (with W3C Recommendations) define a model to enable the inter-operable interchange of provenance information in heterogeneous environments such as the Web.
Provenance comes from the French word provenir, “to come from”, and refers to the chronology of ownership, custody or location of a historical object.