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Is there a common name for the practice of keeping a version number on your data, so that different versions of your program can identify, for example, "current", "legacy", and "too-old-to-deal-with" versions of the same type of object?

As discussed here: Strategy for backwards compatibility of persistent storage.

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... versioning? – TZHX Aug 22 '12 at 10:16
That might just be it. I was wondering if there was a more specific term. – user50849 Aug 22 '12 at 13:58
Depends on the type of versioning being used. The "version" column of a database record is more for concurrency than backward-compatibility. For files, I'd probably call it "file version compatibility" – KeithS Aug 22 '12 at 17:44

Since version control systems handle continuously changing versions of document objects, perhaps their nomenclature is appropriate.

  • Subversion: revision
  • Git: changeset (or perhaps commit)

In both cases this is metadata associated with the underlying object, and is usually a pointer to a linked list of other pointers representing the history.

So, it would seem that the term you're looking for is the name given to the "collection of revision history pointers" which would be "revision history".

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When used with databases, the term I run into the most is

(Database) Schema Version Number

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