Identifying a Version:

A research project may have a number of outputs and each of those outputs may have different drafts or iterations. To avoid confusion, error and wasted time, a searcher needs to have the right information available to identify whether the particular version in front of them is the right version for their purposes.

Providing unambiguous and clear information at the right point enables a researcher to have confidence that they have quickly selected both the right output and iteration for their needs. However, repositories frequently do not make enough of this information transparent to the researcher, meaning that version identification can be difficult.

What Information do you need to Identify a Version?:

Some pieces of information about an object, such as the author and the title are straightforward and are a starting point for a version identification. These pieces of information should be included wherever possible in an object, such as in a title page, first frame of a video, in the properties fields and so on. However, more information is necessary to make a qualified assessment of what version is at hand.

The best place to start is to be clear about what the most useful information is. A researcher might only need one thing, such as a date, or version number, or a descriptive label, but it if this information is misapplied or inconsistently used, then it may lead to more confusion, not less. Equally, although only one piece of information may be needed to identify a particular object, the more information that the repository can make transparent, the less possibility for confusion.

VIF has identified five important pieces of information that can be used to quickly and easily identify a version (if applied in a clear and transparent manner) by either embedding them into an object or storing them in metadata about it. Click on the five links in the diagram below for more information:

Dates Identifiers Version Number Taxonomies Free Text Decription VIF

Repositories need to make this information clear and accessible to the repository users. VIF recommends that all opportunities to present the information should be exploited and all available information should be included. 

The 5 Pieces of Essential Versioning Information:

Links contained in the diagram above:

  1. Defined dates
  2. Identifiers
  3. Version numbering
  4. Version labels or Taxonomies
  5. Text description

Next Section: Framework Solutions:

Click here for the framework of solutions for Software Developers, Repository Managers and Content Creators.

Last updated 09/05/08 | Copyright © 2008 LSE