Records Management - Naming Conventions for Electronic Records

Back to Contents page

Convention 10: The file names of correspondence need to include the name of the correspondent, an indication of the subject, the date of the correspondence and whether it is incoming or outgoing correspondence, except of course where the inclusion of any of these elements would constitute repetition and/or redundancy .

Hence the file names of correspondence should include the following elements:

  • Name of correspondent. (This is either the name of the person who sent you the correspondence or the name of the person to whom you sent the correspondence;

  • A description of the subject, provided it is not already stated in the folder title;

  • The date of the correspondence;

  • If it is received correspondence, then include the standard abbreviation ‘rcvd’.

When deciding the order of the elements consider convention 8, but the above order will generally be appropriate for most cases.

It is the sender's responsibility for filing correspondence. (including any attachments or enclosures) In the case of correspondence which originates from outside the University it is the prime addressee who has the responsibility for filing the correspondence. (ie. not those to whom the correspondence has been cc'd)

Guidance on managing email as a record can be found at http://www.ncl.ed.ac.uk/rm/EmailManagement.htm.


File Naming Conventions - Convention 10
 
Example:

File name:
Right: Wrong:
/…/Complaints/
SmithM20051212.doc
SmithM20051214rcvd.doc
SmithM20060103.doc
JonesM20051211rcvd.txt
JonesM20051212.doc

/…/Appeals/
PaineE20050715rcvd.doc
PaineE20050820.doc
PaineE20050905rcvd.doc
/…/Complaints/
EmailFromMikeSmith14Dec05.txt
LetterFromMarionJones11Dec05.doc
LetterToMarionJones12Dec05.doc
LetterToMikeSmith15Feb05.doc
LetterToMikeSmith03Jan06.doc

/…/Correspondence/
EvelynPaine15Jul05.doc
EvelynPaine20Aug05.doc
EvelynPaine5Sep05.doc

Explanation: It is will always be highly likely that correspondence will be retrieved on the basis of the name of the correspondent.

The first example shows incoming and outgoing correspondence concerning complaints. All the correspondence with Mr Mike Smith is listed together and in chronological order. It is also easy to see incoming correspondence as this is indicated by the standard abbreviation ‘rcvd’ - the same rules have been applied in respect of the correspondence with Mrs Marion Jones. Note here that it is not necessary to include the activity description in the file name because it is already given in the folder name. (ie complaints)

The second example shows incoming and outgoing correspondence with Mrs Evelyn Paine in respect of an appeal. Again the correspondence is listed in chronological order, it is easy to see what the correspondence is about, who it is with and whether it is incoming or outgoing. And again it is not necessary to include a subject description in the file name because it is already given in the folder name. (ie Appeals) Note that in the 'wrong' column, folders should never be given very general names such as here ‘correspondence’.