The JISC funded Version Identification Framework (VIF) project has completed a framework of recommendations and solutions for all those with a role in repository use and implementation to address this problem.
A serious growing concern for digital repositories has been the issue of how to identify versions of open access (OA) works deposited in them. Draft versions, working papers, different formats, supporting material and so on are all accepted by repositories, but their version status is often poorly described and items are often not linked together appropriately. The latest framework promotes better practice for repository staff. It offers solutions that enable clearer understanding of version relationships as well as better version identification of digital objects, no matter how an end user accesses the object held in a repository.
Based on discussions with the software development community, the VIF project has identified five essential pieces of version information - defined dates, identifiers, version numbering, version labels or taxonomies and a text description. It recommends that such information be made transparent to the end users of repositories by embedding the information into objects themselves. Other recommendations include the need for repository managers and staff to think strategically about what their repository is for and what it will be required to do. It is also proposed that content creators use a numbering system that denotes their major revisions.
The framework is seen as an important step in ensuring that repository managers and staff, software developers and authors bear the needs of their users fully in mind in the development of repositories.