The Apache Bloodhound defect tracker I'm working on may show historic results in search in a future version. That means even after an item has been altered (like the description text of a Ticket), when searching for the previous content this would be shown in the search results in some way.

As a practical example: Someone has edited the description of an item and removed a word (Trac) by which I actually remembered the Ticket. When I later search for the word Trac, I'd expect to find it in the results, even if it isn't in the current description anymore.

So my question is: How should you display search results for different versions of something?

Below is a mockup of my first stab at what that may look like.


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure you need to complicate the results with an in-line revision history (even if it's only showing now and then), but you can indicate that the search result is something that was only in use during a certain time period so that you can determine its relevance.

Since only the older version shows the search term, I think that's the only version you need to display.

If the revision history is something that is useful and not already accessible by following the search result anyway, then you can include a link in the text that allows the user to examine the versions of the text in more detail - just not in-lined with the other results.

Anything that is current of course needs no further markup.

I like the fact that you used a fainter text colour to show the older result - as if the text has aged in some way.

I'm not sure how your Time slider works (assume it's a time-range filter) but I would urge you to consider the usefulness of this version searching functionality as over time, the amount of historical revisions could grow to be quite large and the older search results could overwhelm the more relevant up-to-date results - not to mention performance issues maybe? Consider at least making it optional in some way.


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups


I like rogers approach of going with just version history but I had worked on a project in school where I built a web browser based sticky note which stored the historical version of the notes and allowed for users to search across old notes enter image description here

The screenshot above shows historical versions of a note being displayed as the user scrolls across the timeline.However we also incorporated the feature of being able to search across historical versions of notes like this :

enter image description here

So I could technically just play select or go to any individual note in history by just selecting the note in the search results on the side.

So this might perhaps give you an idea about an solution for your approach.

However with regards to ease of searching ,I would go with @Roger Attrills suggestion of making only significant or latest ones available to the search of if you have a feature of versioning ,opt to only search across only the major versions if applicable

I am not sure if my notes suggestion was any use but if you would like to play with it to see how it was implemented,just try it out here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.