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Last week, the W3C Provenance Working group released 13 documents simultaneously that together define a framework for interchanging provenance on the Web. We are really excited about this release as it a complete, full and stable definition of PROV and includes 4 Proposed Recommendations . While 13 documents is a lot, this is because we have broken down PROV into chunks designed for particular communities and usages. As users of PROV you won’t have to focus on the entire framework just the parts that you need. For an overview of this family of documents and the intended audience check out the PROV Overview. Here, I wanted to provide you a bit of a guide to the PROV framework and the role of the various documents.
What is Inference? Broadly speaking, inference on the Semantic Web can be characterized by discovering new relationships. On the Semantic Web, data is modeled as a set of (named) relationships between resources. “Inference” means that automatic procedures can generate new relationships based on the data and based on some additional information in the form of a vocabulary, e.g., a set of rules. Whether the new relationships are explicitly added to the set of data, or are returned at query time, is an implementation issue.
What are Vertical Applications? Vertical applications is the term used at W3C to denote particular, generic application areas, specific communities, etc, that explore how W3C technologies (e.g., Semantic Web technologies) can help their operations, improve their efficiencies, provide better user experiences, etc. Some of these application areas may decide to form some sort a group at W3C to cooperate with other W3C members to explore these possibilities further.
What is Query? “Query” in the Semantic Web context means technologies and protocols that can programmatically retrieve information from the Web of Data. What is Query Used For? The Semantic Web is a Web of data — of dates and titles and part numbers and chemical properties and any other data one might conceive of. RDF provides the foundation for publishing and linking your data.
What is a Vocabulary? On the Semantic Web, vocabularies define the concepts and relationships (also referred to as “terms”) used to describe and represent an area of concern. Vocabularies are used to classify the terms that can be used in a particular application, characterize possible relationships, and define possible constraints on using those terms. In practice, vocabularies can be very complex (with several thousands of terms) or very simple (describing one or two concepts only).
What is Linked Data? The Semantic Web is a Web of Data — of dates and titles and part numbers and chemical properties and any other data one might conceive of. The collection of Semantic Web technologies (RDF, OWL, SKOS, SPARQL, etc.) provides an environment where application can query that data, draw inferences using vocabularies , etc. However, to make the Web of Data a reality, it is important to have the huge amount of data on the Web available in a standard format, reachable and manageable by Semantic Web tools.