File Naming

File Naming Tutorials

I really enjoyed this video series, lots of great advice that I thought was common sense before I started working with other peoples digital documents!Image

Like the video and my favorite webcomic xkcd, I’m also a big advocate of the YYYY-MM-DD date format.  I’m also a big fan for DD-MMM-YYYY as in 11-Feb-2014, which I think is even less ambiguous, but it has the huge disadvantage of not being machine sortable.  I’m currently in the process of renaming our digitized newspapers so they can conform to these standards.  It’s tedious work, but I’m happy knowing that I’m doing my small part to help preserve these records.

Coming back now to the other aspects of file naming, I’m always shocked at the people who are perfectly happy with important documents like membership lists with names like untitled.doc or worksheet(1).xls  I try to gently encourage people to give them more descriptive names as best as I can and the reasoning behind doing so, such as,  “You might have to find it later!”

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4 thoughts on “File Naming

  1. In my archives work, I feel like I am constantly creating important born digital files for managerial purposes. As the sole archivist, these files are mainly for my own benefit (or hopefully the person who comes after me). I’m always amazed at the people in my organization who seem to have no particular rhyme or reason to the way they keep their digital files. However, it makes much more sense when you see some faculty members’ offices. Anyway, the proliferation of in-house files on my hard drive necessitates organization and a standard to make these files accessible to me and others. People in archives and records management are painfully aware of this necessity. For that reason, I also spend a little time each week organizing files on my computer to make sure that digital files (including their names) make sense and are accessible. Your post nicely brings out the importance of standards for organizing digital records, an activity that is lost on many people and, unfortunately, may lead these files (and the information they contain) to be lost for future purposes. Thanks for the provoking thoughts and the link to the videos. Very helpful.

  2. Thanks for the link to the video. I had one instant a few years ago where I misread the date of a concert of a UK -based band. I forgot that they put the day before the month. Luckily, I realized the date of the concert was in May and not August. The tour ended up being the only US tour by the band before they broke up. I was able to see the band. Having a comment way to write the date will help many. I should write today’s date as 2014-2-26.

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