Data Services: File Naming & Organization

This guide provides information on managing data and obtaining secondary data for research.

Data File Names

File names are an esasy way to identify the contents of your data files. Develop file names that are descriptive, yet not overly long. See the box to the right for some tips on file naming.

Tips for Filing & Organizing Data

1. Capture something about the place, time, and theme of your data will help you identify which file you want.

2. Use a file name as short as possible yet still descriptive. This will make it easier when you use scripted file processing.

3. Do not use blank spaces in your file names. Use the underscore "_" or use "CamelCaps" where you run all words together and capitalize each word.

4. Consider placing data files in a separate space from your computer's operating system. This can be an external hard drive, server space, or a separate partition on a hard drive.

File Name Examples:

Bad: Year1 or Summer07

Good: CorvallisVegBio2007

5. Consider appending a version number (eg. v1) to the end of the file name.

Content Citation

Content on this page was taken from the following report:

Borer, Elizabeth T., Seabloom, Eric W., Jones, Matthew B., & Schildhauer, Mark. (2009). Some simple guidelines for effective data management. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, 90(2), 205-214. doi: 10.1890/0012-9623-90.2.205