Monday, 16 May 2011

Improving the provenance of scientific data on the web

Professor Simon Dobson of the School of Computer Science has been appointed as an invited expert to the World Wide Web Consortium's Provenance Working Group.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the international body charged with developing and maintaining standards for the web such as HTML and CSS. It also has a substantial activity in developing the ‘semantic web’, making information available in a form that can be read, processed and reasoned with directly by machines. This has enormous implications for science (amongst other areas), by letting scientists share data more easily and construct more complex automated workflows.

The provenance working group is developing ways to record and publish provenance information about semantic web data such as the organisation creating it, its dependencies with other data, licencing restrictions and processing history. Professor Dobson was appointed to provide expertise in the provenance of data collected from sensor networks, allowing the history of scientific data to be tracked from the moment of its collection all through the analysis process. The group is chartered to deliver standards recommendations by autumn 2012.