File Naming Conventions Best Practices
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File Naming Conventions Best Practices

Filenaming 20080508 final
Department of Cultural Resources

1 Revised May 7, 2008 Best Practices for File-Naming Department of Cultural Resources

2 Revised May 7, 2008 Rule #1: Avoid using special characters in a file name.\ / : * ?

.00; | [ ] & $ , .

The characters listed above are frequently used for specific tasks in an electronic environment.For example, a forward slash is used to identify folder levels in Microsoft products, while Mac operating systems use the colon.Periods are used in front of file-name extensions to denote file formats such as .jpg and .doc; using them in a file name could result in lost files or errors.Rule #2: Use underscores instead of periods or spaces.y have a specific function in a file name, which is to tell the computer program where the file-name extension begins.Spaces are frequently translated in a Web environment to be read as %20.

For example, Naming%20tutorial.doc if it were available online.This alteration can cause confusion in identifying the actual file name.Spaces in file names can also cause broken links, because word processing tools like Microsoft Word, and e-mail clients like Microsoft Outlook, recognize spaces as an opportunity to move to another line.Therefore, a link to

\\Ah1\Intranet\araming conventions

could become \\Ah1\Intranet\araming conventions Another difference that is found among operating systems and software is the acceptable length of file names.

Some systems allow up to 256 characters, while others allow far fewer.Rule #3: Err on the side of brevity.

Generally about 25 characters is a sufficient length to capture enough descriptive information for naming a record.Records will be moved from their original location.Files are frequently copied to other folders, downloaded, and emailed.It is important to ensure that the file name, independent of the folder where the original file lives, is sufficiently descriptive.

Electronic records are usually organized in a series of folders.For example: Department of Cultural Resources

3 Revised May 7, 2008 While this is a very organized way of storing records, it is only efficient as long as the files stay in their original folders in their original context.When multiple staff works on a project (or staff is in a position to get distracted) it is very easy to misfile a document.As soon as 0001.tif is copied to another folder, or emailed to an agency, the context provided by the folders in which the document is nested is lost.Context is particularly important in legal situations because it provides authenticity and trustworthiness of the record.Losing the context of a record can possibly compromise its trustworthiness and therefore its validity or admissibility for court proceedings
file naming conventions best practices
2.0 Best Practices For File Naming
File naming conventions and practices should be determined for each digital project, ... conventions are outlined in the best practices document on newspaper (records.ncdcr.gov)
Exadox.com
paper files and folders, best practices were in place ... that could serve as a general guideline in structuring folder and file naming conventions: 1. ... (library.illinois.edu)
File Management Best Practices - University Of Denver
File Management Best Practices File Naming Management of electronic resources begins with the individual file. Clear, unique file names improve efficiency and ... (exadox.com)
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For instance, if the following files were pulled out of their appropriate folders, they would appear to be the same file: Rule #4: The file name should include all necessary descriptive information is stored: Incorrect: 0001.tif

Correct: wwI_poster_owens_0001.tif Government records will have an associated retention schedule.The point of organizing an agencys electronic records is to enable accessibility not only by current users, but by future users as well.Records retention schedules are applied to electronic records just as they are to paper records.

Having the relevant date associated with the file is essential.

Though many operating systems store this information with the file, as users move the file among folders and computers and as the file is re-saved as revisions are made, those dates change.A file could have dates that do not make much sense to its original creation.

For example, the image to the right displays the properties for a file named default.The date modified appears to be before the date created.This disparity appeared when the file was copied from a server to the desktop of a PC.

The best way to prevent confusion is to embed the relevant date (the date that the file was created or Department of Cultural Resources

4 Revised May 7, 2008 Rule #5: Include dates and format them consistently.Some workgroups might find it more useful to have the date at the start of the file name, while others might prefer it at the end.

Either way, it is a useful sorting tool when the files are organized.Just be sure to keep it consistent.

The best way to list the date is based on an international standard

ISO 8601.

ISO 8601 specifies numeric representations of date and time to be used in electronic format.The international standard date notation is: YYYY_MM_DD

orYYYYMMDDYYYY is the year, MM is the month of the year between 01 (January) and 12 (December), and DD is the day of the month between 01 and 31.For example, January 5, 2008 is written as 2008_01_05 or 20080105.This format allows ease of sorting and comparing files by date and prevents confusion with other date formats (especially in other formats that use just two digits for the year).

filenaming_20080507

to reflect that this draft was last edited on May 5, 2008.Records will have multiple versions.A file will frequently have multiple versions, especially when it is created by a workgroup.

Rule #5: To more easily manage drafts and revisions, include a version number on these documents.

The easiest way to do this is to use the letter v to represent version number.

Then, v01, v02, v03 can be added as needed to a file and the maineffective than other common additions like update, new, old, etc.An exception to this rule is using FINAL to indicate the final version of the document.This can be helpful to quickly identify the most accurate version of the document.When using FINAL, be sure to use it

of the version number, rather than in addition to it.Rule #6: Be consistent.The most important rule of file-naming is to be consistent.Some choices will need to be made
Hyperdeck Shuttle is an outstanding product. My only wish is that it had an option for RED standard file naming conventions
Sunday study on best file naming conventions. Getting Organized: Great Tips for Better File Names. Tips?
We really need some file naming conventions on the union website. This folder is ridiculous.
Adding a section about file naming conventions is a must. Good suggestion. :)
provides this look at CCMS file naming conventions:
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