My presentation to this month’s “Balisage” conference in Montréal – “This paper has no versions” is now available online.
In the presentation I argue that to declare that something “is” or “has” a “version” is to imply that there is some “original” or true referent for that “version” and that the “version” has some standing in the eyes of some authority.
However, whether it be versions of the Bible, versions of documents, or versions of application code, there can be no satisfactory approach to understanding “version” as a purely scalar property. It is necessary to see the concept of “version” for what it is: a social construct that may serve particular needs and may, equally, fail to capture what it is intended to. Understanding this will free us to build information systems that more adequately reflect the mutability of knowledge and its complex relationship with static information.