Collect, visualize, and navigate provenance data


Provenance (or lineage, trace) of digital scientific data is a critical component to broadening sharing and reuse of scientific data. Provenance captures the information needed to attribute ownership and determine, among other things, the quality of a particular data set. Provenance collection is often a tightly coupled part of a cyberinfrastructure system, but is better served as a standalone tool.

The Karma tool is a standalone tool that can be added to existing cyberinfrastructure for purposes of collection and representation of provenance data. Karma utilizes a modular architecture that permits support for multiple instrumentation plugins that make it usable in different architectural settings.

Visualization of provenance data is more useful with support for manipulating very large structures, for displaying different views and for interactivity. This can help a user to navigate their experiment information with a mental map of what is going on in the experiment, to compare different experiment runs quantitatively, and to do model selection with an effective collaboration between the user and the discovery system.

We developed two plugins to Cytoscape to aid the visual representation and navigation of provenance information.


For more information or to download Karma and its documentation, please visit Karma on Sourceforge.



  • Beth Plale, Project Director and main contact
  • Scott Jensen, Senior Researcher
  • You-Wei Cheah
  • Peng Chen
  • Devarshi Ghoshal
  • Yuan Luo


  • Yiming Sun, Senior Software Developer
  • Mehmet Aktas, Associated Faculty
  • Bin Cao
  • Dennis Gannon
  • Prajakta Purohit
  • Ed Robertson
  • Yogesh Simmhan
  • Girish Subramanian


Data to Insight Center
Indiana University Pervasive Technology Institute

Enabling Scientific Expeditions and Infrastructure Experimentation for Pacific Rim
Institutions and Researchers University of California San Diego
Oct 2012-present

BBN Technologies: Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI)
2009-July 2012

National Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA)
Instant Karma: Applying a proven provenance tool to NASA's data production system
March 2010-February 2012