Thursday, October 14, 2021

Some Practical Advice on File Naming Conventions


Continuing with our practical advice October...

Courts create a lot of document files.  Some of those files get uploaded, saved, and organized in the court's case management or electronic document management systems.  And some courts use tools like SharePoint.  But even these tools can benefit from a consistent useful file naming standard.  I looked online and found two excellent pages on the subject. 

More below…



But first, why should you consider a file naming standard?  Because, even when your files are backed up, you will need to be able to find, select, and restore them to the proper place after archiving or after a disaster event.  Also, file naming standards will help when one wishes to post/share files for transparency to the public.

An article by Mr. Adam Pode posted on December 21, 2014, has some solid practical advice.  He recommends:

  1. User capital letters to delimit words in the file name, not spaces
  2. Keep file names short, but meaningful
  3. If using a date in the file name always state the date ‘back to front’ and in this format: YYYY or YYYYMM or YYYYMMDD
  4. Order the elements in a file name in the most appropriate way to retrieve the record
  5. When including a number in a file name always give it as a two-digit number rather than one
  6. When a version number is applicable, it should always appear in the file name of the record so that the most recent version can be easily identified and retrieved
  7. Use meaningful folder names

The article provides examples for each of the points above along with a “Don’t list".

In addition, Stanford University Library has its own “best practices” advice along with recommendations for bulk renaming utilities that are:

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