ACM Transactions on Internet Technology
INTRODUCTION Across many domains, there is a need to trace how data has been created, manipulated, and disseminated. This has led to strong recent interest in technology for modelling and reasoning about provenance. Provenance is information about the 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. It is itself data, commonly represented as a directed acyclic graph linking
... hese elements (entities, activities, and agents) to the earlier elements that influenced them. Provenance is becoming a key Internet technology, and the World Wide Web Consortium has standardised PROV as a representation for exchanging provenance on the (Semantic) Web. It is also important in a number of other settings to address the problems that arise in a distributed, internetworked world: for example, the need to document the sources of information in order to establish their trustworthiness, and the need to secure critical systems from attackers who can, thanks to the Internet, be located anywhere in the world. Access to provenance information underlies our ability to interpret and to judge the reliability of data, whether on the Web, in databases, or within and between applications. Despite much recent progress, it is still uncommon for people or software to have access to the provenance of online data. The formal requirements for provenance, including issues such as correctness, completeness, and security of provenance, are not yet fully understood. The question of what is semantically useful provenance and how to capture it is still open, as are benchmarks that could be used to measure the performance of proposed systems. Moreover, as the patterns of use on the Internet change, with greater prevalence of crowdsourcing of information and services, virtualisation of applications in clouds, location-aware streaming, and so on, both the technological and social requirements on provenance are evolving.