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Per the microformats process, this is a page for researching and brainstorming a rel value for linking to a previous version of a page.

use case

To be able to discover previous versions of a document automatically from a document.


  • W3C. Nearly every W3C specification has a link in the header to the "Previous Version".
  • ...


revision control systems

Revision control systems (RCS) like:

  • CVS
  • SVN
  • mercurial (hg)
  • git

All have ways of representing previous versions of a document.


Several rel values are being considered for linking from a document to a previous version of that document.

  • rel=version
    • +1 Tantek : this feels like the most human-author-friendly term of these.
    • -1 BigBlueHat : lacks directionality; fine for the "this thing is a version case...maybe"
  • rel=revision
    • Mediawiki uses the term "revision" in the UI when you're viewing a previous version of a page.
    • "revision" has a developer feel to it, common terminology in revision control systems (naturally) like git etc.
    • -1 BigBlueHat : same issue as above; also revision !== version
  • rel=older
    • -1 Tantek: "older" feels wrong as a noun.
  • ...

related brainstorming


A related use case is to be able to find the current version of document when looking at an older version. For this, the following rel values are being considered:

  • rel=current
    • seems like a link to something that is always current, not that it happens to be current right now. - Tantek
  • rel=latest
    • might mean a specific link to the latest version, though W3C specs use the phrase "Latest Version" to label the link to the always current URL - Tantek
  • rel=latest-version
  • rel=predecessor-version
  • rel=successor-version
  • ...


MediaWiki pages don't link directly to previous versions, rather they link to a "History" page which then links to previous versions.

We can at least consider brainstorming a link rel to that history page accordingly:

  • rel=history - on a link from a page to a document that lists history of that page, perhaps linking to previous versions.
  • rel=version-history

Is there any meaningful way to markup (rel value) links from a history page to the page itself or from a history page to previous versions of the page?

related work


You can already use:

  • rel-canonical to link to the canonical version of a page. But this doesn't mean it's a different version, if anything, it may be the exact same content just at a shorter or more reliable/official URL.


what about rel prev

What about rel="prev" (or "previous")?

rel=prev (and next) are for sequential navigation/pagination, not historical revisions.

Sequential navigation/pagination and historical versions are totally different, both in how the content works, and in usage.

In pagination, each of the pages has different content and is a sequence like a list, or a series of chapters.

In historical revisions, each page (typically) has mostly the same content with just a few changes/differences between versions.

Pagination is often used as an alternative to delivering the content as a whole, e.g. news articles. Whereas you never see previous historical versions all appended together as if that's "the whole thing".

see also