Best Practices for File Naming | National Archives

August 22nd blog post from the National Archives advocating for best practices in file naming:

“The following are best practices for file naming. File names should:

  • Be unique and consistently structured;
  • Be persistent and not tied to anything that changes over time or location;
  • Limit the character length to no more than 25-35 characters;
  • Use leading 0s to facilitate sorting in numerical order if following a numeric scheme “001, 002, …010, 011 … 100, 101, etc.” instead of “1, 2, …10, 11 … 100, 101, etc.”;
  • Contain a file format extension;
  • Use a period followed by a file extension (for example, .tif, .jpg, .gif, .pdf, .wav, .mpg);
  • Use lowercase letters.  However, when a name has more than one word, start each word with an uppercase letter for example, “File_Name_Convention_001.doc”;
  • Use numbers and/or letters but not characters such as symbols or spaces that could cause complications across operating platforms;
  • Use hyphens or underscores instead of spaces;
  • Use international standard date notation (YYYY_MM_DD or YYYYMMDD);
  • Avoid blank spaces anywhere within the character string; and
  • Not use an overly complex or lengthy naming scheme that is susceptible to human error during manual input, such as “filenameconventionjoesfinalversioneditedfinal.doc”.”

Source: Best Practices for File Naming | Records Express

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