Do you share and index your history?

When you edit a document, some software will generate automatically a new version of the document and allow you to see what changed. If the software is sufficiently smart, you might even know when and by whom the change was made. Wikipedia is good at keeping traces of everything. Email and blogs leave traces. Videoconferencing does not usually leave traces: you cannot replay a Skype conference after it has concluded.

However, beyond keeping traces, software can share and index traces. Each email is a trace of a conversation, and it can be retrieved later, but your emails are not shared. Word processors allow you to send a document with recorded changes, but you cannot easily refer to a specific change in the document.

In any case, I made the following table:

Medium Keep history Share history Index history
Word Processing Sometimes Manually No
Email Yes Manually Yes
Phone, Videoconferencing (Skype), face-to-face No No No
Facebook, Twitter Yes Yes No
Blog Yes Yes Yes

Credit: This idea came after a discussion with Sébastien Paquet.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

2 thoughts on “Do you share and index your history?”

  1. That’s why it is necessary to use version control for the scientific projects. I discovered that I can use svn + trac for keeping latex and matlab files and for me it is a big step forward. Now I can track changes in articles and matlab code. I do not share it, but it is already pays off. I will try to blog about this experience.

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