Reads the provenance created by execution of a script or from commands in the console and provides a human-readable summary identifying the computing environment, libraries used, sourced scripts (if any), and inputs and outputs. It can also optionally save all the files on the provenance directory into a zip file. provSummarizeR uses provenance collected by the rdt or rdtLite packages.

provSummarizeR belongs to a collection of R Tools developed as part of a larger project on End-to-end-provenance.


Install from GitHub:

# install.packages("devtools")

Once installed, load the package:



The summarize functions can be used in one of three ways.

  1. To run script.R, collect and summarize its provenance all in one step: ("script.R")
  1. To summarize the last provenance collected in the current R session: ("script.R")
prov.summarize ()
  1. To summarize provenance that was collected in the past and stored in a prov.json file. For example, if provenance was stored in the prov_script directory, you would say:
prov.summarize.file ("prov_script/prov.json")

All three functions have two optional parameters, save and

If save is true, the summary is saved to a file, in addition to being displayed in the console. The file is named prov-summary.txt and is stored in the provenance directory. The default value of save is false.

If is true, the provenance directory is packaged into a timestamped zip file and placed in the current working directory. This file will contain a copy of all input and output files and scripts used, as well as the prov-summary.txt if save is true. It will also include the prov.json file containing the detailed execution trace, as well as intermediate data values if snapshots were enabled when provenance was collected. The default value of is false.

Creating the zip file depends on the use of an external zip program. This feature has been tested with zip for Unix/Mac OS and with 7z on Windows. It may or may not work with other zip programs. To use a program other than zip, set the R_ZIPCMD environment variable.


Here is an example of what the summary looks like. It first identifies the script that was executed, along with details of how and when the script was run. It then lists the libraries that were used during execution, any additional scripts sourced, and all input and output files and URLs. Note that files are identified by name, timestamp, and hash value.


Executed at 2018-11-29T16.52.34EST 
Script last modified at 2018-11-29T16.34.54EST 
Executed with R version 3.5.1 (2018-07-02) 
Executed on x86_64 running darwin15.6.0 
Provenance was collected with rdtLite 1.0.2 
Provenance is stored in /Users/blerner/Documents/scripts/prov_script 
Hash algorithm is md5 

base 3.5.1
datasets 3.5.1
ggplot2 3.0.0
graphics 3.5.1
grDevices 3.5.1
methods 3.5.1
provSummarizeR 1.0
rdtLite 1.0.2
stats 3.5.1
utils 3.5.1


File : in.txt 
File : script2.R 

File : out.txt