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Subject: Re: Document Naming Conventions
From: "Love, Tom (NIP)" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Records Management Program <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 20 Oct 2003 12:06:39 -0400

text/plain (164 lines)

This an early post on the subject, one so in depth that I saved it. I don't
have a thread of the 'modern' post but if you haven't seen this one, read

Tom Love
Records Management Officer
National Immunization Program
404 639 8093

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Connelly [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2003 10:16 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Document Naming Conventions

I always enjoy the list.  If nothing else, the list reminds us that we are
not alone in our struggles.
By way of introduction (I have not posted in several millennia), I am a
consultant and a CRM based in Western Canada.  Our work of late includes
corporate wide taxonomy designs and implementations, ISO assessments, and a
large part of what we do now involves improvements in electronic records
Therefore as a lurker, I come "cap in hand"seeking comments on a segment of
an approach to the "poor mans EDMS".    [Many organizations cannot afford
the luxury? of full bore, robust, it even makes toast, Electronic Document
Management Systems (EDMS)] And before any vendors send me private flames, I
have installed many different products and they are all wonderful.  If you
can afford them, use them.  The poor man's EDMS is a stopgap at best.  But
let's face it, you have to use SOMETHING.  I speak from years of experience
wandering around servers and finding such joys as the geologist who filed
various seismic reports in folders he had given the names of tropical
goldfish (he was an enthusiast)!
The poor man's approach has been around for about 8 or 10 years, but has
never had such fertile ground as the tangled servers and networks that are
developing in the past few years not to mention the governance issues that
are ever in the press.  Let me briefly explain the approach.

In Canada, block, duplex, FAST and functional systems have blended over the
years but have basically retained numeric identifiers.  I use these
concatenated with alpha names to create Block, Primary, & Secondary folders
for use within a shared server environment   I have found 3 or 4 levels is a
maximum that can be tolerated. I also have a homemade MsAccess application
that moves entire classification plan structures to Explorer folders at a
keystroke.  (We got tired of generating 1000 - 2000 file folders manually).

For example a 1000_Administration Block folder would open to a number of
1020_Administration_Legal etc...

The 1005_Administration_Best_Practices would open to Secondaries
1005_20_REC_Records_Management_Policy etc.

Note that documents may only be filed at the secondary level.  Underscores
are essential to avoiding characters that Bill Gates or someone has decreed
to be ugly or unworthy of being in a file name.  Also a 0001_Filing_Basket
folder sits at the top of the tree and can be linked via MSOutlook & other
MsOffice tools so that it becomes a default filing area.  NT, access control
groups or other forms of security can readily be mapped to the
classification plan. Records Office or Registry staff have access to the
filing basket and may move documents within the classification system on
behalf of staff.  We do provide training (PowerPoint explanations of how to
use the system for e-mail & e-docs), brochures and cheat sheets for users.

"My Computer" or "Explorer" can easily be forced into a detail mode to
display a number of fields and has a variety of advanced search tools
however our experience is that users, in general, and the odd luddite, in
particular, hate to fill in fields ... they would rather just scroll through
lists of documents.

Therefore, (whew!) we come in a roundabout fashion to my main questions.

Has anyone had experience in encouraging a set format for document names
such as the one below? Does a naming convention make sense?  Would users
take to it? Would records classifiers have to edit document names or could a
percentage of users be counted on to use enlightened self-interest and start
adding in the fields themselves?  Would users find the displays be too
cumbersome?   Are the redundancies warranted?  Is it easier to have them
modify the properties of documents and learn to be effective searchers?  Are
there workarounds for URL concerns with web-based repositories?  Does ISO
9660 really matter?
As usual, I apologize for the lengthy post and look forward to equally
lengthy replies :)

Jim Connelly
[log in to unmask]

DRAFT File Naming Convention for Electronic Documents

The convention involves up to 6 sections separated by underscores.


Note that you do not need to complete all sections for each document.
e.g.    Standing Policy Committee_Budget_AGD_20030201.doc
Alberta Nurses Association Concerns_Biometrics_JConne_LET_20030101.doc

Title Enter the normal document title and adjust to fit the standard
sections that follow.         The new naming convention should use titles
much the same as before to ensure that there is some continuity of naming on
the server.

Keyword To improve retrieval add a key word or phrase that you might use to
remember the document.         Many mnemonics may be used e.g. committee
chairman's name, acronyms of titles or organizations, report author's name,
Legislation Bill number and year e.g. C-44-2003

Document Type To reduce the number of words in document titles and to ensure
consistent searching ... use a 3-digit acronym for certain standard
        AGD     AGENDA
        CMM     COMMENTS
        CPA     COVER PAGE
        CON     CONTRACT
        FRM     FORM
        IDX     INDEX
        LET     LETTER
        LST     LIST
        MAC     MACRO
        MEM     MEMO
        MIN     MINUTES
        NTS     NOTES
        OVH     OVERHEAD
        PLN     PLAN
        PAP     PAPER
        PRC     PROCEDURE
        RPT     REPORT
        SCH     SCHEDULE
        SMM     SUMMARY
        SUP     SUPPLEMENT

Author Use standard logon as ID   Initial + 5 digits of Surname are
used.e.g. Jim Connelly = _jconne_        Although this is embedded in
Microsoft Office, this can avoid confusion where templates or similar
consultations are copied for different clients.

Version Use "V01" etc. for versions and "D01" for drafts   V02     Version
2.  Note that Microsoft has a method for versioning word documents but not
for .xls or .ppt.  This will ensure more consistent identification of

Date The date of the document in metric format will aid in searching
YYYYMMDD e.g. 2003-09-08     Microsoft Office will change document dates if
the file is read/opened/edited.  This helps retain a creation date. If range
is needed, use YYYY-YYYY in keyword section.

Extension Use .doc, ppt, xls, msg, bmp, tif, pdf etc.

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