ProvenanceContainer (Re: Workflow Example in Formal Model HTML document)

Hi Satya,

A provenance container is not used to make a representation of something in the World. It is a construct to bundle assertions together.

An entity expression *is* an assertion.
A provenance container *is not* an assertion but contains assertions.

I agree with you that your envelope contains letters. Both envelope and letters are things, one containing the other. That can be *represented* using collections and containment relationships.

Professor Luc Moreau
Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton
Southampton SO17 1BJ
United Kingdom

On 29 Sep 2011, at 03:11, "Satya Sahoo" <<>> wrote:

Hi Luc,
We were not able to reach an agreement on how ProvenanceContainer is not a specialized type of Entity during our ontology call on Monday due to time constraints.

To help better understand the differences and similarities, I copied the two definition from PROV-DM to two documents and tried to compare them side-by-side. The following are the two definitions:

In PROV-DM, an entity expression is a representation of an identifiable characterized thing.

A provenance container is a house-keeping construct of PROV-DM, also capable of bundling PROV-DM expressions. A provenance container is not an expression, but can be exploited to return all the provenance assertions in response to a request for the provenance of something ([PROV-PAQ]).

According to the two definitions, a provenance container can be an "identifiable characterized thing" (not being an expression is not a conceptual constraint). Also, the ability to return all provenance assertions in response can be applied to an Agent also - similar to a software agent returning the current stock market quotes.

Further, if an Entity "contains" provenance assertions it can still be an "identifiable characterized thing" thereby satisfying our current definition of Entity.

During our ontology telcon today Paolo explained that the primary difference between Entity and Provenance Container is that Provenance Container can "contain" provenance assertions while Entity are assumed not to contain assertions. But, this seems to be an application-specific requirement.

For example, for a person writing a 3-page letter the three pages will be instances of Entity and the envelope containing the three pages will be a container. But for the postal service personnel, who deal with thousands of envelopes per day, the envelope is an Entity (and a sack for transporting the envelopes will be a container).

Hence, I believe the difference between what thing is a ProvenanceContainer or an Entity is an application-specific perspective/requirement and there is no fundamental difference between the two terms - except that Provenance terms seems to be a specialized form an Entity in the sense that Provenance Container contains provenance assertions, while an Entity may or may not contain provenance assertions.

Paolo suggested that we should bring up this issue to the WG mailing list - hence I am cc'ing the mailing list also.



On Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 3:58 AM, Luc Moreau <<><>> wrote:
I thought we had already discussed this, but I see location as subtype of entity.
Same issue as with provenance container.  This is not a subtype of entity.


Professor Luc Moreau
Electronics and Computer Science   tel:   +44 23 8059 4487<tel:%2B44%2023%208059%204487>
University of Southampton          fax:   +44 23 8059 2865<tel:%2B44%2023%208059%202865>
Southampton SO17 1BJ               email: <><>
United Kingdom                     <>

Received on Thursday, 29 September 2011 05:23:20 UTC