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What's in a name?: On naming your files

What's in a name?: On naming your files

Filenames are the most basic metadata associated with many of our electronic records. Make yours useful!

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ANurnberger

August 19, 2016
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  1. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. On naming your files (and butchering the Bard) What’s in a name? Attribution: Amy Nurnberger, ORCID 0000-0002-5931-072X
  2. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. O thou invisible photo on file, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil! Filename as basic metadata
  3. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. The img0042 Problem   Filenames hold information   Make that useful   Don’t let your work be: A deed without a name.
  4. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. What not to use in a filename Frailty, thy name is /’\:*?”<>|[,]&$ !
  5. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. Making strong filenames Avoid \ / : * ? “ < > | [ ] & $ , ! Reserve . for file extensions Avoid spaces, use _ (- is questionable because humans confuse −, -, ﹣, -, but to a computer script trying to parse file names these are very different) Be brief
  6. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. Versioning And if his name be George, I’ll call him Peter; For new-made honour doth forget men’s names.
  7. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. Change the file? Change the name.   Indicate versions   filename_v001   report_draft_r045   report_final_r176   presentation_20140706   Indicate responsibility   Initials: file_v05_gh   ID designation: file_v05_iam37
  8. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. The importance of file directory structure & naming I cannot tell what the dickens its name is.
  9. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. Letterheads Yardley Spode Tiffany ar01 jp09 jp03 vu78 ar42 df39 jp03 Letterheads/Yardley/jp03 Letterheads/Yardley/ar01 Letterheads/Tiffany/ar42 Letterheads/Tiffany/jp09 Letterheads/Tiffany/jp03 Letterheads/Spode/df09 Letterheads/Spode/jp03
  10. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. ar01 jp09 jp03 vu78 ar42 df39 jp03
  11. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. ar01 jp09 jp03 vu78 ar42 df39 jp03
  12. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. ar01 jp09 jp03 vu78 ar42 df39 jp03
  13. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. Projects Letterheads_Yardley_jp03 Letterheads_Yardley_ar01 Letterheads_Tiffany_jp09 Letterheads_Tiffany_jp03 Letterheads_Spode_df09 Letterheads_Spode_jp03 Letterheads_Tiffany_ar42
  14. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. Letterheads_Yardley_jp03 Letterheads_Yardley_ar01 Letterheads_Tiffany_jp09 Letterheads_Tiffany_jp03 Letterheads_Spode_df09 Letterheads_Spode_jp03 Letterheads_Tiffany_ar42
  15. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. What is that file? Tongue nor heart Cannot conceive nor name thee!
  16. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License.
  17. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. Good name in files and folders, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls I know I had a system…
  18. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. Making a system: a case study Study on educational effectiveness using classrooms with different technological affordances: Multi-year project Multiple instructors Multiple classrooms Different combinations of instructors and classrooms (many-to-many relationship) Multiple ways of collecting effectiveness information, e.g., clickers, grades, surveys Which technology used is the study’s major framing Want to easily group files longitudinally Example attribution: Amanda Whitmire
  19. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. Making a system: a case study Classroom_YYYYTT_Instructor_course_type.xxx, which decoded is: Classroom = abbreviation, e.g. HEY201 for Heyman 201 YYYYTT = year+term, where term will be one of 3 codes: WI (winter), SP (spring), SU Instructor = some abbreviation that makes sense, initials if there aren’t duplicates Course = code, e.g. GRAD521 Type = data type, e.g. Clickers, grades, survey, etc. Example attribution: Amanda Whitmire
  20. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. Dates Randall Munroe - http://xkcd.com/1179/
  21. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. “The file’s name is a tower of strength” Avoid \ / : * ? “ < > | [ ] & $ , . (reserve . for file extensions) Avoid spaces, use _ (- is questionable because humans confuse −, -, ﹣, -, but to a computer script trying to parse file names these are very different) Be brief, but identify & document the important information elements, independent of file structure, e.g., files Letterheads/Yardley/Ann/0042.jp2 and Letterheads/ Biggert/York/0042.jp2 are indistinguishable outside the folders File structures should include project names, and have their own naming system Include dates; format consistently, e.g., YYYYMMDD Consider the order of elements Use versioning, e.g., xxxx_v07.txt Make a system. Share the system. Follow the system.
  22. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. Questions? https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:HamletSkullHCSealous.jpg Attribution: Amy Nurnberger, ORCID 0000-0002-5931-072X
  23. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. Frailty, thy name is woman!- Hamlet A deed without a name. Macbeth The King’s name is a tower of strength – King Richard 3 And if his name be George, I ’ll call him Peter; For new-made honour doth forget men’s names.- King John Good name in man and woman, dear my lord, Is the immediate jewel of their souls - Othello Tongue nor heart Cannot conceive nor name thee! - Macbeth I cannot tell what the dickens his name is. – Merry Wives of Windsor O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil! - Othello What need’st thou such weak witness of thy name? – Milton’s Epitaph on Shakespeare These earthly godfathers of heaven’s lights That give a name to every fixed star Have no more profit of their shining nights Than those that walk and wot not what they are. – Love’s Labour’s Lost http://blogs.archives.gov/records-express/ files/2014/08/ACPE_Appendix_B.pdf
  24. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

    International License. Never find yourself saying: “I cannot tell what the dickens its name is.”