System Transparency, or How I Learned to Worry about Meaning and Love Provenance!

Web-based science analysis and processing tools allow users to access, analyze, and generate visualizations of data without requiring the user be an expert in data processing. These tools simplify science analysis for all science users by reducing the data processing overhead for the user. The benefits of these tools come with a cost, the increased need for transparency in data processing. By providing a clear explanation of the science concepts and processing performed by the science analysis tool we can increase user trust, understanding, and accountability and reduce misinterpretation or generation of inconsistent results. We will demonstrate knowledge provenance (processing lineage and related domain information) presentation capabilities applied to an existing web-based Earth science data analysis tool (e.g. Giovanni from NASA/GSFC). Our conclusion is that user accessible visual presentations of knowledge provenance are key to building meaningful user understanding of analysis and processing decisions and should be a key component of data analysis tools.

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Associated Projects

Augment Giovanni, the Goddard online tool for data access, visualization and analysis, with semantic web technologies and ontologies to support data inter-comparisons from different sensors or models.

Data provenance (i.e. the essential data parameter details, quality and production caveats) will be added to enable researchers to make valid data comparisons and draw quantitative conclusions on specific analysis (e.g. ocean fertilization due to acid rain).