Having a consistent system for naming your files has many advantages:
- Retrieving your files is easy.
- Files can be identified at first sight.
- The sorting algorithm of your computer works for you.
- No mixing up of file versions
- Duplicates are avoided.
- Superfluous files are quickly identifed.
- You understand your own data even long after your project has finished.
- Others can understand your data e.g. if you work collaboratively or if you have to pass on your data on occasions like a change of job.
Ask yourself what kind of information on your files allows you to identify them at first sight. This could be, for example:
- Name of Author_year_title (e.g. for secondary literature)
- Date_title_number (e.g. for empirical data)
- Title_text type_date (e.g. for the text of your thesis)
Consider the following rules for naming files:
- Use names or abbreviations which clearly describe the content of the files.
- The file names should be as concise as possible.
- Write dates according to the scheme JJJJMMTT.
- Absolutely avoid the characters “ / \ : * ? ‘ < > [ ] & $ = ; , |
- Avoid special characters and umlaute.
- Avoid blanks and instead use underscores.