Choosing File Names

From Simson Garfinkel
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This page discusses issues when naming files and directories.

Issues to consider when choosing names:

  • Design a scheme that can be maintained over time.
  • Use names that contain both content and date information. This way, when searches are done, the results are self-explanatory.
  • If a file is regarding a contract or grant, put the award number in the file name as well.
  • Always represent dates in file names in ISO8601 format, YYYY-MM-DD. For example, 2010-04-15 for April 15, 2010. This way dates sort. Never use alphabetic dates, like 2010-APR-15. Although they are easier to read, they don't sort, which causes more problems than it solves.
  • Always put dates and contract numbers in the Subject: lines of email messages as well.
  • Name the files for the date that the report covers, rather than the date that the report is made.
  • If a report covers multiple days, months or years, use the date of the LAST day, rather than the first. (This is similar to the way that fiscal years are named for the last day in the fiscal year.)

When working with others:

  • Keep all reports for a single project in the same directory.
  • Direct report writers to adopt and maintain a standardized format.
  • Unless one is specifically attempting to document malfeasance, it usually doesn't make sense to keep interim reports and versions.
  • In general, its better not to convert .docx or .doc to PDF, as the original version has more fidelity

that is designed for ease-of-use and ease-of-expansion over time.