Talk:Provenance

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Rewrite[edit]

Resolved: Seven-years-old news.

If anyone is here to read this, I'd replace everything on the 'Provenance' page with the following.

Provenance is evidence provided to demonstrate the correctness of a description given to an entity.

Stuff about archaeology belongs in the archaeology department and stuff about art fakes belongs in the art fakes department. Stuff about the provenance of scientific research belongs in the scientific method department, and so on. All in my opinion, of course.

Comments? Regards, Nick.

Ignore the above, I've rewritten the article covering (I hope) all of the points in what was there before in a neutral voice, corrected the definition and added a little. More work is needed though. Regards, Nick --81.86.134.253 10:16, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Looting[edit]

Resolved: Seven-years-old news.

I added the info about the "Ancient looting" of artefacts, and the In situ 'finds' of items, a fossil(for example), that is a "derived" fossil. I think you redid the wording exquisitely. My hats off to you. MMcAnnis6.3.55.1 22:39, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Provenience[edit]

Resolved: Fixed.

It would improve the article if this alternate term were moved from the bottom to the top of the article, since it is in part a variation of the same concept. --Ludvikus (talk) 03:56, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Manuscript vs. literature[edit]

Stale: Thread died out over 3.5 years ago.

An editor has nade a distinction between manuscripts and literature, claiming that only the former have a provenance. Although I understans where 9s)he's coming from, I cannot agree with his or her mere striking out of the term literature, because: here is an exact quote from a Merriam-Webster's:

    "the history of ownership of a valued object or work of art or literature"
--Ludvikus (talk) 02:39, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Well, I suggest you ask Messrs Meriam & Webster how a work of literature can have a provenance. And, while you're at it, whether most archaeological finds are well described as "valued object"s. Personally I use the OED. Johnbod (talk) 02:47, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
I see where you're going, but I think you're bending over backwards to accomodate a not-very-good definition. A book is still not a work of literature, though one may be printed in it, and actually rare books are one area where provenance is least important, as they are uneconomic to fake, and their ownership history is rarely recorded in full. Unless, that is, it is an "association copy", signed by the author, or a famous owner, but that is rather different. The vast majority of archaeological finds have no monetary value, being broken bits of pottery and the like, but their provenance is still important. Ditto fossils. The OED defines it as "The fact of coming from some particular source or quarter; source, derivation", which is suitably broad, I feel. Johnbod (talk) 03:01, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
We both were writing & posting at the same time - but you pressed Save page before me & wiped me out. Not wanting to repeat myself (in my mind) let me just observe that the Gutenberg printing-press is about 450 years old, whereas literature (which previously was presserved, aside from memory) in manuscripts. Accordingly, more that 450 years ago a work of literature could only be authenticated by exploring the manuscript's provenance. --Ludvikus (talk) 03:12, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
550 years ago in fact. Can you quote a single example of a literary manuscript in the modern sense (written by the author, not a manuscript copy) from before 1450? I don't think there are any. Johnbod (talk) 03:25, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
  • In the above, you confuse objects of value with objects having a monetary value. --Ludvikus (talk) 03:18, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
No, I think the definition is just badly phrased; they are clearly thinking of art, antiques etdc. Johnbod (talk) 03:23, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
  • In the above, you also confuse literature with a particular printed book. --Ludvikus (talk) 03:21, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
No, that is what they are doing! Questions of "authorship" is the equivalent issue in literature. Johnbod (talk) 03:23, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Consider the fake, Hitler Diaries. Do you mean to to tell me that the issue Provenance has no bearing on this hoax of literature - or if you prefer, the world of letters - merely because the text is made available in the printed form, rather than in its manuscript form? --Ludvikus (talk) 03:28, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
The discussion centred precisely on the provenance of the manuscript, which was shown to use the wrong ink etc, and not to have been found in a crashed Nazi plane. The authorship was also plausibly argued not to be Hitler's too, but that was not a provenance issue, precisely because that could be judged from the printed text alone. Johnbod (talk) 03:39, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
  • I regret that by the broadest meaning of the term, we must call the Protocols of the Elders of Zion literature. That being so, I am interested in the provenance of this plagiarism. Have I made a mistake in my language usage in that regard? --Ludvikus (talk) 03:33, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Not if it refers to a manuscript - otherwise "authorship" is better. I'm not sure it wqas a plagiarism either - if so it was a reverse of the usual kind. "Forgery" covers it better.Johnbod (talk) 03:39, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
Here I must correct you - it has been conclusively established in 1921 that the text was also a plagiarism. The text from which about 40% of it was lifted is known to have been written by one Maurice Joly. This work was written in French, in the 1860's, and is entitled: The Dialogue in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu. But the fake was first published in 1903 in Russian and in the Russian Empire. --Ludvikus (talk) 03:54, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
  • This item is actually useful for us to consider. The problem it poses is that the alleged manuscript remained in the possession of the individuals who perpetrated the hoax, and the witnesses - such as those who testified, or submitted affidavits, in 1935, in the Bern Trial, were not the most reliable. Furthermore, the alleged manuscript has disappeared a very long time ago. Nevertheless, the question of Provenane is appropriate, is it not, even if we cannot establish it? --Ludvikus (talk) 04:02, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Split proposed[edit]

The archaeological term provenience is not actually related to the art curatorial concept of provenance; they simply derive from the same root, and ultimately have something to do with "where an object came from". An article on provenience should be entirely cited to reliable sources on archaeology, cultural anthropology, physical anthropology and forensic anthropology (and probably also paleontology and related fields). In the interim, the article needs to explain the difference better. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒〈°⌊°〉 Contribs. 18:21, 16 February 2012 (UTC) Revised 20:24, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Off you go then! It seems premature to split them now, as Provenience would only have a line & a half. Johnbod (talk) 13:01, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
I've explained the difference better. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 20:24, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

It seems a deeper split is needed. The current article covers a variety of topics and should be turned into a disambiguation page with the various subjects developed as articles. Some of these would start as rather short stubs, but could be fleshed out later - there is nothing wrong with a stub. Could start with a dict def and disamb links to cultural topics: art, antiques and books and scientific topics: archaeology (provenience), paleontology, petrology, biology (seeds) and legal/computer usage. Vsmith (talk) 15:24, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Oh don't let's set up another disam page that just goes to five stubs! The meaning of the term is essentially the same for all fields except Petrology and archaeology (where the term is different it seems), though the relevance and form of the provenance will vary. If and when they ever get decent individual articles it might be time for a split. Johnbod (talk) 18:40, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
That's an oversimplification. The meanings (plural) in paleontology, for one, are exactly the same as in archaeology (exact 3-dimensional grid location at a site, approximate locale of a find that wasn't recorded in detail, etc.). It's entirely routine to split articles, even into stubs, when homophonic, disparate topics are covered on the same page simply because they have the same name. And provenance and provenience aren't even homophones, nor particularly related concepts. They just happen to incidentally sound similar and are easily confused words by people with no relevant background, like "cirrhosis" and "psoriasis". That said, we almost certainly do not need separate articles on the concept of provenance in particular, divided between art, forensics, law, computers, etc., except if/when one of them is judged to be widely divergent from the original concept and well-documented as such.
What this needs to be is an article on provenance, as the article title indicates, focusing on the art term, explaining in subsections the derived uses in other fields, linking to specific articles on those with {{Main|Provenance (specific field here)}} where needed (i.e. where the derived usage is very distinct and has its own article), and finally capping the article with {{Distinguish|Provenience}}, linking to an article on provenience (itself focusing on the archaeological definition, and having subsections and eventually {{main}}s if/when needed for derived uses of that term, e.g. in paleontology). — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 20:24, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I,ve no objection to a reasonable short stub or article on provenience; pleqse go ahead Johnbod (talk) 08:12, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
I'll consider it, but someone with an archaeo. degree and current access to archaeo. journals and textbooks should probably do this. My degree's in cultural anthro, and I don't have active credentials to use university library journal search resources to cite current material. I'm adamant that we have problem here, but not that I bear the solution to it. I can suggest where the solution lies, but I don't have the proper tools, and won't without investing significant cash resources (access to academic material is very costly if you are not a student or a university faculty member, because the presumption is that if you want it and don't qualify as either, you're a former-academic corporate "applied" type, with a padded expense budget. PS: There's no particular reason it would necessarily be a short stub. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 10:57, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

provenance taboo?[edit]

I have removed the following from the intro:

Provenance issues regarding works of art and cultural artifacts is a largely taboo subject within the museum discipline.

There was no supporting citation and the text of the article points out that many museums and galleries are researching Nazi era provenance of works of art and publishing the results. I suspect that whoever added it was referring to disputed ownership of artifacts such as the Elgin Marbles where there is a dispute about validity of ownership transfers. Anyway, I think it needs to be more specific and certainly needs a citation. Rjm at sleepers (talk) 08:39, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Hadn't seen that - it seems nonsense to me. Johnbod (talk) 11:07, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Agreed with Johnbod. It's a PoV-pushing exercise by someone who thinks all museums are engaged in illegal/unethical antiquities trade. That assumption was actually mostly true about 2 generations ago, but times have changed. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 11:18, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Computer and Law Section[edit]

I have some concerns with the part that says today:

"on it to ensure the it does not contain source code under a viral licensing agreement which may in turn force it to release any derivative works. A number of commercial software companies produce applications and offer services specifically designed to audit source code and/or software binaries to help identify the origins of subcomponents and what licensing terms each fall under. Palamida, Inc. and Black Duck Software are the two largest suppliers of such applications and services."

This section names companies without references: is this advertizing?

It also talks about some arcane "viral licensing agreement" that at best could be considered argumentative and IMHO gives a one sided view: is this about the GPL being supposedly "viral"? Is this bad or good?

There are also typos in this section. This needs some rewriting and better references. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.142.78.197 (talk) 05:37, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

144.189.31.2 (talk) 17:25, 25 February 2013 (UTC) I agree with these comments. Since there has been no other feedback since October I think this is time to edit this section directly now?

A Couple of Suggestions[edit]

1. In view of the confusion above between provenance (for example, of manuscipts) and the much broader issue of origin(s) (for example, of stories, myths, ideas, inventions, etc.) I would suggest stressing explicitly that provenance is about the history of physical objects and not in any way about intellectual property. So if a medieval bard in some sense lifted, borrowed or 'stole' a story from somewhere or someone else, as often happened with the Arthurian legends, for example, that is a matter for the history of literature and has nothing to do with provenance.

2. I wonder if it would be worth adding something about photographic prints, in particular those said to be original? Norvo (talk) 03:28, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

Never mind the ancient debates on the talk page, the article begins "Provenance (from the French provenir, "to come from"), is the chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object..." and has nothing in it about IP, except for the legal/IT senses in section 6, where "provenance" is also the correct term. Something could be added about photos, but they really follow the general principles, don't they? Johnbod (talk) 13:38, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
Many thanks for your speedy reply, Johnbod. As for photographs, evidence that a particular print was made within, say, two years of the photograph being taken (which is one common definition of original print) is often impossible to obtain in the case of older photos and often goes a beyond issues of custody and ownership, as it involves a time limit between the creation of the image and its first realization as a print. Worth a mention, or is this problem strictly speaking outside the realms of provenance and really a matter of accuracy of description? Norvo (talk) 22:46, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
It might be better at the very rudimentary Photographic printing, Art photography, or Art photography print types (or more than one of them), with a see also here. Johnbod (talk) 01:19, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
Again, thanks for your reply. Having given the matter further thought, I agree that this article is not the best place for this issue. Norvo (talk) 01:44, 1 April 2014 (UTC)