Document management refers to the practice of strategically planning where and how the outputs from your group’s work will be stored. As information professionals, sometimes we can take for granted that someone at the table should have some expertise in this area.
The most important aspect of document management is consistency – both within your group and for LITA as a whole. This guide will help you decide where to store different types of documents and how to name them.
The benefits of having consistent document naming conventions include:
- The ability to distinguish files from one another.
- The facilitation of file browsing.
- The facilitation of file retrieval for all – not just for the file’s creator.
Some best practices when naming documents include:
- Keep file names short and relevant.
- Avoid using spaces in filenames. Use camel case (i.e. capitalize the first letter of each new word) and underscores _ instead.
- Avoid using symbols such as: !~@$%^&*()+=?><|*+,-#,/’”:;.
- If using a date, use the format Year-Month-Day (four digit year, two digit month, two digit day): YYYY-MM-DD or YYYY-MM or YYYY-YYYY. This will maintain chronological order. For example:
|Will list in chronological order
|Will not list in chronological order
- Include leading zeros for numbers 0-9. This will maintain numeric order in the file directory.
- Order the elements in a file name according to the way they will be retrieved. If you are retrieving elements by date, then that element should appear first.
File names relating to recurring events (e.g. agenda, meeting minutes) should include the date and event. For example:
Agenda 5 January 2017.doc
Agenda 5 November 2016.doc
Minutes 5 January 2017.doc
Minutes 5 November 2016.doc
- Avoid descriptive terms regarding format or version (e.g. draft, memo) at the start of file names.
Sometimes it can be unclear where we should keep the documents produced by our teams. Many teams use ad-hoc methods, like email chains, personal or institutional shared drives, or Dropbox to store their documents. This practice doesn’t allow for a sustainable and accountable transfer of information.
LITA provides a number of different places where you can and should store your different types of working documents. For your LITA team work, keep the following spaces in mind:
|Where it Goes
|How to Access
|Working or collaborative documents
|LITA’s Google Docs instance
|Publicly available documents
|Public LITA Documents
|Copy for long-term preservation and archived versions of documents
|Use the library in your team’s ALA Connect group
Icons courtesy of icons8.com