« It could be the case, though rare, that the author - narcissistic and fanatical about his own changes, and using some kind of special computer program - has kept somewhere, inside the memory of the machine, all these intermediate changes. But usually this does not happen. Those "ghost" copies have vanished; they are erased as soon as the work is finished. »
So speaks the licensed navel-gazer Eco. And contrary to Eco, I just keep everything to do with a given project in a subdirectory, and when the project is "over", I just burn that to CDROM, complete with all four dozen in-progress versions of a chapter/article/chapter. And every day (at least!!) that I work on a chapter/article/whatever, I increment its filename. So chapter 9 starts out ch09aa and ends up with ch09an or something; and then I might skip to ch09ba when a draft comes back from the editor. I so very rarely go more than two versions back, so in theory I might as well throw out all the versions at the end, except for the last two or three files. But why bother? The files are small, certainly compared to the capacity of a CDROM, so it's never worth the time it'd take me to go thru the files and figure out which revisions are worth keeping.
Am I the only one who works this way? Because it's sure unlike what Eco describes, unless I fall under his "narcissistic and fanatical" clause.