What kind of article change history does KnowledgeOwl keep?

Your knowledge base can track two types of change/edit history for a given article:

  • Revisions: stored automatically; temporary history of text changes only
  • Versions: full record of everything in the article; must be manually created; preserved as long as you wish

Let's explain these in a bit more detail.

Revisions

What are they?

After you've created an article and saved it for the first time, a revision is automatically logged every time you save an article with some type of change and click the Save button. This means that each revision could be something as small as a corrected typo or changed punctuation mark, or as big as replacing all text of the article. Recent Revisions capture changes to the article's text only. So if you just replaced one screenshot for another, that won't be captured.

Revisions are basically the most recent save log for the article.

How many are there?

We automatically save up to ten (10) recent revisions. Once you have saved more than ten times, we'll automatically delete the older revisions to maintain a maximum of ten.

Where can I see them?

You can see when revisions have been stored by looking just under the Save, Preview, and Back buttons. If revisions have been stored, you'll see a Recent Revisions hyperlink with the number of revisions in parentheses:

Sample Recent Revisions link

Click that link to view a list of your recent revisions:

Sample Revisions List

The most recent revision will be at the top, as Revision #1. The oldest revision will be at the bottom.

You can use the Compare to... links to compare any given revision to:

  • the Previous Revision (the one immediately below it in the list) 
  • the Current revision (Revision #1)

Clicking on one of those comparisons will open a new screen that will do a side-by-side comparison:

A sample Revision Comparison on this article

The exact display will depend on whether you chose the Compare to Current or Compare to Previous Revision options. The screenshot above is the Compare to Current, which shows the current content on the right.

  1. The Content section will show the Author listed at the time of save, as well as the date + timestamp of the revision's save.
  2. The Title lets you compare the article's main title between the two revisions.
  3. The Toc Title lets you compare the article's Internal Title (if there was one) between the two revisions.
  4. The Publishing Status lets you compare the article's publishing status. 
    Note: you won't see a publishing status for revisions saved prior to 15 July 2020.
  5. The Body Text section lets you compare the article's text between the two revisions. 
  6. Any deletions will be in red font and strikethrough.
  7. Any additions in a revision will be in green font and underlined.
  8. You can revert to this revision by using the Recover Revision button.
  9. Use the Newer and Older buttons to cycle through revisions without returning to the Revision List

How can I use them?

Think of revisions as a snapshot of the most recent changes to an article, and an "oh no what have I done?" protection if you've recently made changes and messed something up.

Generally, people use revisions to:

  • See who's edited the article recently, and how substantive those edits were
  • Recover a recent revision of the article when something's gone wrong (someone accidentally deleted things or misunderstood what edits to make, etc.)

Do not use revisions for:

  • Long-term auditing/tracking of content changes
  • Permanent record of content to be able to revert/show what the content was at a specific point in time (such as for a compliance audit, etc.)

When you click Recover Revision, the editor will take the revision snapshot of the article you recovered and insert that into the editor. Those changes will not be saved/displayed until you click the Save button in the upper right!

Versions

What are they?

You can create specific, distinct versions of an article over time, to reflect changes to the content. These versions are stored as long as you'd like them to be. You can store Version Notes for each version, as well.

Versions are basically a permanent snapshot you create of the article at a given time. Only one version of an article is published in your knowledge base at a time.

How many are there?

You can create as many versions as you'd like. We have default major and minor version numbering options, but you can also custom number them in ways that make sense to you (to coincide with annual audits, software or product releases, etc.).

Where can I see them?

All versions for an article are stored in the Versions section of the righthand panel of the article editor:

Sample Versions section with a Version Note displayed

The version you're currently viewing will appear in black; click the hyperlink of another version to view that version.

How can I use them?

For more information on using Versions, see Versions.

Generally, people use versions to:

  • Keep an audit history of different versions of content used over time
  • Provide version control for their documentation
  • Match documentation updates to real-world updates (such as releases, etc.)
  • Prepare updates for published content without having to instantly publish them

Do not use versions for:

  • Tracking every tiny change to an article
  • Tracking every person who's edited an article over time

For Version Control: When you create a new version, it takes a copy of the current version to use as a starting point. Any edits you make to one version don't impact another.

For releasing updates to an already-published article when you choose: You can also wait to publish a new version until all editing and review is done--this can be a great way to prep documentation updates ahead of major company announcements, rebranding, product releases, a new school year, etc. without impacting the current published article.

For allowing a review of updates to a published article before they are published: Since you can also control which users can create versions and who can publish them, versions can be a great way to allow folks to edit and update articles without giving them access to edit a currently-published article.

At this time, we do not have an automatic version comparison that will highlight the differences between versions, like we do for revisions. For now, you'd need to manually compare versions or have detailed Version Notes highlighting the differences.

Are revisions stored for versions?

We were hoping you wouldn't ask this, as it's not an easy question to answer. The short answer is: yes, revisions are automatically stored for some versions. But the long answer is: it's complicated.

We track the ten most recent revisions to an article automatically. When you create an article and publish it, that is automatically created as Version 1.00. As long as you continue with Version 1.00, revisions will be tracked on that version.

Once you create more than one version, we track revisions for the currently published version only. After a version is unpublished, it continues to save the revisions it had from when it was published (max of 10).

Let's look at an example to see how this plays out:

Linus has an article called "Learning to Fly" which he has published. By default, this has only one version: Version 1.0.

  • Revisions for Version 1.0 are tracked, up to a maximum of 10

Linus needs to make some updates, so he creates a new minor version, Version 1.1.

  • Revisions for Version 1.0 will still be tracked, since it is still the current published version
  • Revisions for Version 1.1 will not be tracked because it isn't published yet

Linus continues to save changes to Version 1.1 but has not yet published it.

  • Those changes will not be tracked as revisions, because Version 1.1 has not yet been published
  • Any revisions to Version 1.0 would continue to be tracked

Linus publishes Version 1.1.

  • From publication onward, revisions for Version 1.1 will be tracked
  • No further revisions for Version 1.0 will be tracked
  • The historical record of the last 10 revisions for Version 1.0 will still appear if I view Version 1.0 in the editor; they will not appear when I view Version 1.1 in the editor