Naming-of-Documents-and-Folders-Guidance

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					Naming of Documents and Folders Guidance
Benefits of Using These Guidelines
These guidelines are to be used as a basis for naming electronic folders and electronic and paper documents. It is sensible to be as consistent as possible between paper and electronic filing systems. It is important to have an agreed approach to naming documents which everyone who has access to the documents understands. This is so that document titles are: _ Simple and easy to understand _ Clear and logical _ Concise _ Consistent _ Standardised where appropriate The main reasons for having an agreed approach are:  To make it easier to search for information and be confident that you have found everything you need. (Your file search is more likely to retrieve all information relating to a particular topic)  To create understandable, consistent and predictable names for documents. It will be easier to locate information even if you are not the one who created that document.  To more easily distinguish documents from one another because there is less chance that different topics will be similarly named.  To enable the sorting of documents in a predetermined logical sequence.  To make it easier for users to interpret documents from their file

Always Remember The Title Should Describe the Content of the Document

The title should accurately reflect and indicate the content of the document to make it easy to locate, it should be in some way unique, and documents with topics of a like nature should be placed in the same folders rather than have a new one created.

Possible Elements of a title

In constructing a title it is necessary to decide how best to describe the informational content of the file or the individual document. Some of the elements that could be considered in the creation of a title are: • Activity/ project names • Organisation Names • Place Names • Personal Names • Subjects • Dates • Version Numbers & draft/final status It will depend on the nature of the document or folder which elements will be the most suitable for use in the title, and in what order. Consider the most effective way of arranging the records– alphabetically, numerically or chronologically as this will also affect the decision about what information should be placed at the start of the title.

When a record is a piece of correspondence it will almost certainly be appropriate to include as one of the elements the name of an individual, it will not however be appropriate to name records after the record creator. (i.e. do not name records after yourself. E.g. Phil‟s correspondence).

The Order

Elements in a file name should be ordered in the most appropriate way to retrieve the record, this is not always the same for each different type of record (see Appendix A for examples). The elements to be included in a file name should be ordered according to the way in which the record will most easily be retrieved. This will mean that descriptions should be understandable to other people who may need to access them in future. For example: „Cataloguing Policy for Information Services 2007‟. Would be of more use than „Current Policy on Cataloguing‟ – this title will soon become meaningless without its proper contextual information. If the records are usually retrieved according to their date then the date element should appear first. If, on the other hand, the records are retrieved according to their description, then the descriptive element should be listed first. Whichever way a record is named be sure there is enough information to identify the context if the file becomes detached from its folder. The names of records relating to recurring events (For example, minutes and papers of meetings, regular reports, event management and budget planning documents) need to include the date and the event name/description in order for the record to be identified and retrieved. It is likely that the best way of naming these types of record is by placing the date first. To enable the dates to be best sorted by computer give dates in a format YYYYMMDD for example 20080708 meaning 8 July 2008, if you need to separate the components of the date use hyphens e.g. 2008-07-08). By using this date format the most recent document will be at the end of the list and this will help in their identification and use. Any date used in a title should be a significant date relevant to the document, e.g. date of meeting rather than any date it is uploaded into the system. Any numbers in the title between 1 and 9 should have a leading zero so that any computer search or sort will maintain numerical order (i.e. 01, 02, 03, etc). Where names occur in the title of the document or folder it should be in the order Family name then initials (or forename). It is most likely that documents concerning individuals will be retrieved by the family name of that individual. Possibly consider the use of post title rather than post holder name as this allows a searcher to identify all related documentation even if the original post-holder leaves or changes post.

Versions and Drafts

Consistent naming of different versions can be used to support version control in association with these documented procedures. If appropriate include version numbers and draft/final record information so as to make it more obvious to a viewer whether they are looking at a completed piece of work or not.

For some documents and records it is important to consistently identify and distinguish versions by including a version number as part of the title. This process ensures a clear audit trail for tracking the development of a document and identifying earlier versions when needed. The Title should indicate whether it is a draft or final (record) version. There is detailed guidance on this in the Document “Version Control of Documents and Records – Guidance”. However the basic approach is that a Draft should be indicated by a D and a Record should be indicated by a R. Major changes should use ordinal numbers (1,2,3 etc.) and minor changes should be shown by decimals. For example a major change might look like D2.0 and a minor change might be D2.1. See Appendix A for a more detailed example.

Things to be avoided:
Avoid abbreviation and if you need to use acronyms, these should be ones that are in standard University use. Foe example: Committee names should follow the University system, such as JCNC (for Joint Consultative and Negotiating Committee). Sector wide acronyms should follow the commonly recognised usage, such as RAE (for Research Assessment Exercise) or HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England). All acronyms should be capitalised. Avoid naming folders or documents that do not provide a clear idea of content. For example such as “Phil‟s doc”, “personal Folder”, “miscellaneous notes”, “correspondence” should be avoided. ALWAYS avoid use of terms such as general or miscellaneous. Avoid using codes and avoid any technical jargon which may change over time and make future identification and retrieval difficult. Titles should be spelt out properly, and spaces used. As far as is possible avoid using anything other than alpha and numeric characters only (numbers and letters). The use of other characters such as \ / : * ? " < > |, etc tend to create computer problems as a lot of computer languages do not recognise these. File names should not include terms such as “PDF”, “Presentation”, “document” or “Spreadsheet”. This information is redundant as the type of file will be obvious from the file icon and the file extension. Avoid using words like „draft‟, „letter‟ or 'memo' at the start of file names. Using descriptive generic terms at the start of file names, means that all such records will appear together in the file directory. This will make it much more difficult to retrieve the records you're looking for.

Appendix A Examples for Naming Particular types of Records:
Committee
Date of Committee/number of paper submitted (or XX for minutes and 00 for Agenda)/name of paper/committee name (this is included to assist searches that occur without reference to the file plan) For example for a meeting of JCNC on the 16th July 2008 this would look like: 20080716 00 Agenda JCNC 20080716 01 Redundancy Policy Discussion paper JCNC 20080716 XX Minutes Set of minutes from 20080412 for approval JCNC

Correspondence
Name of correspondent/subject of correspondence/date of correspondence/type of correspondence Name of correspondent will be either the name of the person who sent you the correspondence or the name of the person to whom you sent the correspondence; For example a letter from James Smith making a Subject Access Request on the 16th July 2008 would look like: Smith James Data Protection Subject Access Request 20080716 Letter It is hopefully fairly obvious that if the title was the other way around it would be less useful Letter 16072008 DPA SAR James Smith because any computer system would collect all the „letters‟ in one place rather than all the „Smith‟ items.

Drafts and Versions
On occasions, especially when creating policies and procedures, it is important to differentiate between versions and to highlight whether something is a draft document or a final record. The order for this type of record might look like: Description/Date of Version/Version number. For example the third major draft an electronic guidance document on Version Control should be named: Version Control of Documents and Records Guidance 20080616 D3.0


				
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