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MathGroup Archive 2007

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Re: Notebook History -- what is it good for?

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg77720] Re: Notebook History -- what is it good for?
  • From: "Steve Luttrell" <steve at _removemefirst_luttrell.org.uk>
  • Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2007 04:43:08 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <f4olfq$763$1@smc.vnet.net>

I'm using it experimentally to replicate (part of) the effect of using a 
time-stamped "laboratory notebook".

The time-honoured way to time stamp material (e.g. for patent priority 
purposes) is to keep a countersigned paper record, but this doesn't work if 
you do everything in electronic form (e.g. Mathematica notebooks) unless you 
use some additional procedures to generate verifiable time stamps.

The Notebook History feature looks to me like a first attempt to generate 
time stamps for Mathematica notebooks. It doesn't go all the way because you 
can't determine the exact state of a notebook at a given point in the past, 
but at least it shows where you have been going back to "fiddle" with 
earlier results, and thus gives a last-updated time for each cell. As for 
whether this sort of time stamp would be recognised in law, that presumably 
would depend on whether the time stamps were difficult to fake. I think that 
time-stamped copies of your notebooks are the only convincing approach here.

My "laboratory notebook" has been a web of Mathematica notebooks since 
version 3.0, and up until now I have carefully added date labels to every 
group of cells that I create and/or edit, AND I periodically make a 
time-stamped copy of active notebooks. I don't yet know the precise way in 
which I will end up using the new Notebook History feature; at the moment I 
regard it as an experimental feature.

Steve Luttrell
West Malvern, UK

"Szabolcs" <szhorvat at gmail.com> wrote in message 
news:f4olfq$763$1 at smc.vnet.net...
>
> In Mathematica 6 there is an entry in the Cell menu: Notebook History.
> Does it do anything apart from tracking the modification times of cells?
>  Is anyone here using this feature?  If yes, how do you use it/why do
> you find it useful?
>
> I am just curious about this new feature.
>
> Szabolcs
> 




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