Records Management - Naming Conventions for Electronic Records

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Convention 8: Order the elements in a file name in the most appropriate way to retrieve the record.

The elements to be included in a file name should be ordered according to the way in which the record will be retrieved during the course of day to day business, how this is implemented will invariably depend on the way you work.

For example, 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 description element should be listed first.

File Naming Conventions - Convention 8

File name:
Right: Wrong:


Agenda 1Feb2005.doc
Agenda 20Jan2005.doc
Agenda 30June2004.doc
Minutes 1Feb2005.doc
Minutes 20Jan2005.doc
Minutes 30June2004.doc
PaperA 1Feb2005.doc
PaperB 1Feb2005.doc

20051201AlumniSocietyParty.doc 20051206FellowshipAward.doc 20051212SenateDinner.doc
Explanation: The first example shows minutes and agenda of a Staff Student Committee. The minutes and papers of the meetings are likely to be retrieved on the basis of the date of the meeting, hence it is best to have the date at the start of the file name. If not then all of the Agendas will come at the top of the directory list, followed by all of the minutes, and then by all of the papers.

The second example shows the file names of the files in the Events folder. Events are likely to be retrieved by the name of the event rather than the date of the event, hence more useful to have that element first.