Provenance, XML, and the Scientific Web

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Executive Summary

Science is now being revolutionized by the capabilities of distributing computation and human effort over the World Wide Web. This revolution offers dramatic benefits but also poses serious risks due to the fluid nature of digital information. The Web today does not provide adequate repeatability, reliability, accountability and trust guarantees for scientific applications. One important part of this problem is tracking and managing provenance information, or metadata about sources, authorship, derivation, or other historical aspects of data. This paper discusses motivating examples for provenance in science and computer security, introduce four models of provenance for XML queries, and discuss their properties and prospects for further research.

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