The University of Southampton

Southampton academic leads work into provenance of information on the Web

Published: 13 December 2012

PROV a worldwide specification for provenance of information on the Web has reached a key milestone on the road to standardisation thanks to the work of an international group led by a University of Southampton professor.

Professor Luc Moreau, from Web and Internet Science in Electronics and Computer Science, is co-chair of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) provenance working group that is looking to define a standard for provenance on the Web.

W3C is an international community that sees organisations, staff and public working together to develop Web standards. It was founded by the inventor of the World Wide Web and University of Southampton Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and aims to lead the Web to its full potential.

Luc has been leading the Provenance working group that has just published specifications for provenance of Web information as Candidate Recommendations. This is a major milestone before becoming a standard.

The PROV standard will provide the structure of a computer-processable audit trail that is capable of describing the origins of information. This audit trail will help people understand where their information has come from and whether it can be trusted.

Luc said: “The W3C Provenance working group that I co-chair has been working very hard to develop a standard for provenance on the Web. By publishing our specifications as Candidate Recommendations the community can review our proposed standard, implement it and make comments up until the end of January 2013.

“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. On the Web, where information is mashed up and republished, where we can trust sources more than others, provenance will allow users to decide whether information is authentic.”

After comments close at the end of January the specifications will become Proposed Recommendations before being finally endorsed by the W3C Advisory Committee.

To read the W3C PROV working group Candidate Recommendations in full go to:

Overview of the provenance specifications

Primer on PROV

PROV Data Model, Candidate Recommendation

Provenance Working Group page

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