PROV-N: The Provenance Notation

TitlePROV-N: The Provenance Notation
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsMoreau, L., and P. Missier

Provenance is information about entities, activities, and people involved in producing a piece of data or thing, which can be used to form assessments about its quality, reliability or trustworthiness. PROV-DM is the conceptual data model that forms a basis for the W3C provenance (PROV) family of specifications. PROV-DM distinguishes core structures, forming the essence of provenance information, from extended structures catering for more specific uses of provenance. PROV-DM is organized in six components, respectively dealing with: (1) entities and activities, and the time at which they were created, used, or ended; (2) derivations of entities from entities; (3) agents bearing responsibility for entities that were generated and activities that happened; (4) a notion of bundle, a mechanism to support provenance of provenance; and, (5) properties to link entities that refer to the same thing; (6) collections forming a logical structure for its members. To provide examples of the PROV data model, the PROV notation (PROV-N) is introduced: aimed at human consumption, PROV-N allows serializations of PROV instances to be created in a compact manner. PROV-N facilitates the mapping of the PROV data model to concrete syntax, and is used as the basis for a formal semantics of PROV. The purpose of this document is to define the PROV-N notation.

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