The paper introduces the notion of offline justification for answer set programming (ASP). Justifications provide a graph-based explanation of the truth value of an atom with respect to a given answer set. The paper extends also this notion to provide justification of atoms during the computation of an answer set (on-line justification) and presents an integration of online justifications within the computation model of Smodels. Offline and online justifications provide useful tools to enhance understanding of ASP, and they offer a basic data structure to support methodologies and tools for debugging answer set programs. A preliminary implementation has been developed in – .