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  1. #1
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    Naming convention (Word XP/SP3)

    Hi Everyone,

    I have been beating my head trying to solve what should be a simple enigma, but I seem to be outplayed by it. So I decided to request your assistance. I am trying to prepare some sort of a guideline to help people in my organization name their documents. Basically, a good document naming convention should make locating a document a simple task. A good document naming convention should also eliminate the need to open the document to see what is contains. All and all, a good document name makes everything easier. I have used Google, Yahoo and Altavista, but to no avail. I mostly find naming convention that relates to the programming world.

    Any input? Suggestions?

    Thanks for any info that you can provide

    Gilles

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    Re: Naming convention (Word XP/SP3)

    Generically, there are far too many possibilities to make any recommendations. Maybe try to narrow down the requirements by asking things like:

    What types of documents does your organisation deal with? letter, memo, invoice, specification, ...
    How do people locate them? e.g. Windows Explorer
    What do you need reflected in the filename? content, author, date, recipient, ...
    How would you like to sort/ filter them?

    Are these specifically Office documents? If so, there are programs available that will display document properties in a "tooltip" when the mouse is moved over the file.

    Maybe some specifics would help with suggestions.

    Alan

  3. #3
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    Re: Naming convention (Word XP/SP3)

    Thanks for the comments Alan,

    But I'm actually looking to see how others are handling this. I should have asked "How do you name your files?".

    We are using Office in combination with DOCS Open. When we are profiling a document, the profiler needs to give the document a name. I am trying to provide guidance to our users on an approach to use to name these documents, so that it makes it easier for others to locate these documents.

    Thanks,

    Gilles

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Naming convention (Word XP/SP3)

    It depends. A DMS typically has field for client, matter, author, maybe department/division, and things like the "document type" - letter, memo, motion for summary judgment - which can take much of the burden off of the file name field. On the other hand, it's difficult to have complete trust in any profile information, so DMS users are happy to have speedy and powerful full text searching as a backup. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    What I find is that most of our users are just a bit unimaginative. If the document itself has a title (such as a pleading), a version of that typically ends up in the name space even if it's something not all that useful such as DECLARATION IN SUPPORT. The real problem, in my view, is that DMSs make it difficult to group items by project: you know that for any given combination of client and matter, there will be numerous individual projects. Unless you have some system to identify those, the burden is put on the descriptive name field to keep related items together and differentiate them from unrelated items.

    When we migrated our older files, I wrote a little VBScript that people could optionally use to preface the document names (which migrated as the descriptive names) with the name of the folder they previously were stored in. So, for example, there was a group of files dealing with a particular part of a project, set off in a subfolder (e.g., Prior Art). To avoid losing that intelligence, the script prefaced the names dispute with the folder name in parentheses (e.g., (Prior Art)). This way, you could immediately pick out the ones that were related to that "project."

    After than, you still have the problem of ltr, lttr, letter and so forth. You're on your own there. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Naming convention (Word XP/SP3)

    Hi Gilles:
    I agree with Alan. I assume you're trying to make searching/recovery easier. There isn't one naming convention. e.g.

    Misc letters: I like to start with the 2 digit year, month, & day, followed by the recipients name.

    Letters to those where I have a folder with their name on it (e.g. client, supplier, etc.): date followed by subject or subject followed by date. It depends how it will later be best to search.

    I also think it helps immensely if your folder sub-folder structure is organized well, just like a file cabinet. Stuff that's related to a project should all go in one folder, generally.

    For mail merge documents, I like to preface the datasource with <font color=red>dta</font color=red> & the main document with <font color=red>mm</font color=red>. I also try to keep all the datasource files under one folder called "Datasource".

    Finally, a good text indexer is still important for narrowing. You can search for <font color=red>Wilbur</font color=red> in the Software forum.
    Hope this helps,

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Naming convention (Word XP/SP3)

    One other thought: I'm not sure what your position is with your company but you might consider a powwow of the people who interface most with the system to see what they think. What are their frustrations? What is easy for them? Or should I say, what would make them most efficient? Everyone is going to have slightly different views about what is logical, but logic really doesn't matter in this context, only functionality.

    An example from my past: a secretary receives a dictation tape and creates a new document. In order to even save the first sentence a profile must be filled out. How much does she or he really know at this point? People who use dictation equipment should provide that information "up front" to avoid having to go back later and fix the profile (or worse, the possibility of leaving it ambiguous). This can either be on the tape or on an accompanying note.

    Anyway, I could go on about what I like and don't like, but really, it is your users who need to adapt the procedure to your business. Good luck!

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    Re: Naming convention (Word XP/SP3)

    Thanks for your input.

    I work for a government agency, so when you say that your users are a bit "unimaginative", well, I would replace a bit by a a whole lot for the people in the agency.

    I already know, that there is almost no way I will be able to propose a standard, but being able to discuss this topic for all of you, is already helping tremendously.

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    Re: Naming convention (Word XP/SP3)

    Hi Phil,

    I definitely value your input. You are right when I am trying to make searching/recovery easier. Especially, in our case were we are moving to have DOCS Open integrated with Office XP. This means that when a user saves a document, they are presented with a profiling windows, where they have to indicate what part of the organization structure the document pertains to, indicate the level of security attached to the document, attach a file number to it, and a few more items. The user as the ability to assign rights to the document. This way they get to decide who has access to the document and what they can do to it.

    The file number is becoming problematic, because each department wants to have their own file plan, but in many cases, if not all, documents are not specially associated to a particular department. It might start in department A, but eventually someone in department C put the final touches to it.

    We have over 11 000 employees in the agency. This is why I want to try to help the users name their documents in a way that would make it easier to locate.

    I have no idea if any of this makes any sense to all of you, but I definitely appreciate receiving your input

    Thanks,

    Gilles

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    Re: Naming convention (Word XP/SP3)

    Once again,

    thanks for your input.

    Gilles

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