Topics

Getting Document Naming Conventions Adopted #guidelines


Gabriela Fitz
 

Hi All:

I hope this finds everyone safe and well. 

I have a question that is very in the weeds but I am hoping someone finds it interesting enough to help :)

I am working on a number of knowledge governance issues with a client and one of the "tiny habits" we are trying to change in order to improve search and discovery is how staff name their documents in box. I have a set of best practices partially drafted but thought I would ask you all for any practical advice and experience on implementing naming conventions before I get too detailed in my guidelines.

I don't expect this organization to wholesale adopt a shared practice around document naming (there are lots of staff whose professional identities are grounded in their sense of autonomy) but even a partial alignment of practices would go a long way!

I welcome any input and advice.

Many thanks,

Gabriela Fitz
Think Twice LLC
www.thinktwicellc.com


 

Can you share your partially drafted best practices to give us a sense of what your current thinking is? It would  help me better understand what you’re trying to do. 

Thanks. 



On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 10:01 AM Gabriela Fitz <gabi@...> wrote:

Hi All:

I hope this finds everyone safe and well. 

I have a question that is very in the weeds but I am hoping someone finds it interesting enough to help :)

I am working on a number of knowledge governance issues with a client and one of the "tiny habits" we are trying to change in order to improve search and discovery is how staff name their documents in box. I have a set of best practices partially drafted but thought I would ask you all for any practical advice and experience on implementing naming conventions before I get too detailed in my guidelines.

I don't expect this organization to wholesale adopt a shared practice around document naming (there are lots of staff whose professional identities are grounded in their sense of autonomy) but even a partial alignment of practices would go a long way!

I welcome any input and advice.

Many thanks,

Gabriela Fitz
Think Twice LLC
www.thinktwicellc.com

--
~Tom

Tom Short Consulting
 
+1 415.300.7457 

--
-Tom
--

Tom Short Consulting
TSC

+1 415 300 7457

All of my previous SIKM Posts


Gabriela Fitz
 

Hi Tom:

Yes, we are focusing on three things related to document management in box (which is the primary document storage platform for the organization): 1) document naming practices, 2) document sharing practices, and 3) creating/flagging authority documents. The one that I am tackling first and am unsure about is the document naming practice. I have a proposed convention, which is simply "Project_Subject_YYYYMMDD_v#", although I am considering dumping the date and version # since box handles this on its own and it might simply be too much to ask staff to put this into the name itself. If we can get them to clearly name the document and always upload a "new version" to box then that might be enough. I just don't know how particular to get in an org that right now doesn't have any naming conventions at all and don't want to be switching up the instructions anytime in the near future.

Hope that helps? I appreciate any insights you can offer!

Gabi


On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 12:19 PM Tom Short <tshortconsulting@...> wrote:
Can you share your partially drafted best practices to give us a sense of what your current thinking is? It would  help me better understand what you’re trying to do. 

Thanks. 



On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 10:01 AM Gabriela Fitz <gabi@...> wrote:

Hi All:

I hope this finds everyone safe and well. 

I have a question that is very in the weeds but I am hoping someone finds it interesting enough to help :)

I am working on a number of knowledge governance issues with a client and one of the "tiny habits" we are trying to change in order to improve search and discovery is how staff name their documents in box. I have a set of best practices partially drafted but thought I would ask you all for any practical advice and experience on implementing naming conventions before I get too detailed in my guidelines.

I don't expect this organization to wholesale adopt a shared practice around document naming (there are lots of staff whose professional identities are grounded in their sense of autonomy) but even a partial alignment of practices would go a long way!

I welcome any input and advice.

Many thanks,

Gabriela Fitz
Think Twice LLC
www.thinktwicellc.com

--
~Tom

Tom Short Consulting
 
+1 415.300.7457 

--
-Tom
--

Tom Short Consulting
TSC

+1 415 300 7457

All of my previous SIKM Posts



--

Gabriela Fitz

Think Twice LLC

773.882.8250 | LinkedIn

www.thinktwicellc.com


Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers





Stephen Bounds
 

Hi Gabriela,

I would sound a note of caution about the use of document naming standards as a general practice. Noting that:

  • There is an increased cost of storage to use a naming standard
  • Benefits of naming generally rely upon frequent retrieval, but some studies found that over 30% of stored documents are never referenced again
  • Benefits may rely upon achieving a high level of compliance, and if so, remember that implies additional costs of enforcing compliance

you should absolutely strive for the minimum level required to achieve meaningful benefits (which may be zero).

Folder naming standards can be more productive since they scale -- that is, a single act of labelling applies to all documents contained within it, as long as there is an efficient way to store documents directly into a named folder. If people are manually navigating through a structure to save, that is generally about the same cost as manually typing a name, although less prone to data errors. This principle applies generally to all taxonomic structures.

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 21/04/2020 7:05 am, Gabriela Fitz wrote:

Hi Tom:

Yes, we are focusing on three things related to document management in box (which is the primary document storage platform for the organization): 1) document naming practices, 2) document sharing practices, and 3) creating/flagging authority documents. The one that I am tackling first and am unsure about is the document naming practice. I have a proposed convention, which is simply "Project_Subject_YYYYMMDD_v#", although I am considering dumping the date and version # since box handles this on its own and it might simply be too much to ask staff to put this into the name itself. If we can get them to clearly name the document and always upload a "new version" to box then that might be enough. I just don't know how particular to get in an org that right now doesn't have any naming conventions at all and don't want to be switching up the instructions anytime in the near future.

Hope that helps? I appreciate any insights you can offer!

Gabi


On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 12:19 PM Tom Short <tshortconsulting@...> wrote:
Can you share your partially drafted best practices to give us a sense of what your current thinking is? It would  help me better understand what you’re trying to do. 

Thanks. 



On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 10:01 AM Gabriela Fitz <gabi@...> wrote:

Hi All:

I hope this finds everyone safe and well. 

I have a question that is very in the weeds but I am hoping someone finds it interesting enough to help :)

I am working on a number of knowledge governance issues with a client and one of the "tiny habits" we are trying to change in order to improve search and discovery is how staff name their documents in box. I have a set of best practices partially drafted but thought I would ask you all for any practical advice and experience on implementing naming conventions before I get too detailed in my guidelines.

I don't expect this organization to wholesale adopt a shared practice around document naming (there are lots of staff whose professional identities are grounded in their sense of autonomy) but even a partial alignment of practices would go a long way!

I welcome any input and advice.

Many thanks,

Gabriela Fitz
Think Twice LLC
www.thinktwicellc.com

--
~Tom

Tom Short Consulting
 
+1 415.300.7457 

--
-Tom
--

Tom Short Consulting
TSC

+1 415 300 7457

All of my previous SIKM Posts



--

Gabriela Fitz

Think Twice LLC

773.882.8250 | LinkedIn

www.thinktwicellc.com

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers





David Eddy
 

As you may or may not have experienced "naming conventions" is a very personal, perpetually contentious issue.

Creating "good names" works when there is a single control point.   The people who create the content IN THE DOCUMENTS are NOT that control point.  Point being: take the content creators out of the process of creating good, meaningful, consistent document names.

>
> I have a proposed convention, which is simply "Project_Subject_YYYYMMDD_v#", although I am considering dumping the date and version # since box handles this on its own
>

1/ - YYYYMMDD is absolutely ONLY correct, unambiguous date format.

2/ - I advocate using YYYYMMDD as a document PREFIX in many situations.  Relying on which ever software that's currently in vogue is risky.  I have experienced software that modifies the modification date simply by viewing the document.  People who embrace good filing practices tend to mentally file documents by events & time frames.  Dates as prefix make it easier to narrow in on "...that project I was working on just before Covid-19 hit..."

______
David Eddy
Boston SIKM
781-455-0949


Gabriela Fitz
 

Thanks Stephen, I appreciate this insight! My concern with just focusing on folders is that staff can share a document outside of a folder that someone doesnt have access to or visiblity into and then that file loses all relevant context.

David, I agree that this has to be automated to some degree and its super helpful to my thinking to focus on, as you say the "choke" point. Perhaps automating the addition of a folder name and date to what the document creator cooks up as the subject of the document could be a happy medium between what Stephen is suggesting and the idiosyncrasies of box, which you rightly point out may not be the platform they use for the long term!

I've already learned so much in just these few exchanges, thank you! Would love to hear from others as well.

Best,
Gabi



On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 6:36 PM Stephen Bounds <km@...> wrote:

Hi Gabriela,

I would sound a note of caution about the use of document naming standards as a general practice. Noting that:

  • There is an increased cost of storage to use a naming standard
  • Benefits of naming generally rely upon frequent retrieval, but some studies found that over 30% of stored documents are never referenced again
  • Benefits may rely upon achieving a high level of compliance, and if so, remember that implies additional costs of enforcing compliance

you should absolutely strive for the minimum level required to achieve meaningful benefits (which may be zero).

Folder naming standards can be more productive since they scale -- that is, a single act of labelling applies to all documents contained within it, as long as there is an efficient way to store documents directly into a named folder. If people are manually navigating through a structure to save, that is generally about the same cost as manually typing a name, although less prone to data errors. This principle applies generally to all taxonomic structures.

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 21/04/2020 7:05 am, Gabriela Fitz wrote:
Hi Tom:

Yes, we are focusing on three things related to document management in box (which is the primary document storage platform for the organization): 1) document naming practices, 2) document sharing practices, and 3) creating/flagging authority documents. The one that I am tackling first and am unsure about is the document naming practice. I have a proposed convention, which is simply "Project_Subject_YYYYMMDD_v#", although I am considering dumping the date and version # since box handles this on its own and it might simply be too much to ask staff to put this into the name itself. If we can get them to clearly name the document and always upload a "new version" to box then that might be enough. I just don't know how particular to get in an org that right now doesn't have any naming conventions at all and don't want to be switching up the instructions anytime in the near future.

Hope that helps? I appreciate any insights you can offer!

Gabi


On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 12:19 PM Tom Short <tshortconsulting@...> wrote:
Can you share your partially drafted best practices to give us a sense of what your current thinking is? It would  help me better understand what you’re trying to do. 

Thanks. 



On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 10:01 AM Gabriela Fitz <gabi@...> wrote:

Hi All:

I hope this finds everyone safe and well. 

I have a question that is very in the weeds but I am hoping someone finds it interesting enough to help :)

I am working on a number of knowledge governance issues with a client and one of the "tiny habits" we are trying to change in order to improve search and discovery is how staff name their documents in box. I have a set of best practices partially drafted but thought I would ask you all for any practical advice and experience on implementing naming conventions before I get too detailed in my guidelines.

I don't expect this organization to wholesale adopt a shared practice around document naming (there are lots of staff whose professional identities are grounded in their sense of autonomy) but even a partial alignment of practices would go a long way!

I welcome any input and advice.

Many thanks,

Gabriela Fitz
Think Twice LLC
www.thinktwicellc.com

--
~Tom

Tom Short Consulting
 
+1 415.300.7457 

--
-Tom
--

Tom Short Consulting
TSC

+1 415 300 7457

All of my previous SIKM Posts



--

Gabriela Fitz

Think Twice LLC

773.882.8250 | LinkedIn

www.thinktwicellc.com

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers






--

Gabriela Fitz

Think Twice LLC

773.882.8250 | LinkedIn

www.thinktwicellc.com


Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers





Dennis Thomas
 

On April 21, 2020 at 9:21:36 AM, Gabriela Fitz (gabi@...) wrote:

Thanks Stephen, I appreciate this insight! My concern with just focusing on folders is that staff can share a document outside of a folder that someone doesnt have access to or visiblity into and then that file loses all relevant context.

David, I agree that this has to be automated to some degree and its super helpful to my thinking to focus on, as you say the "choke" point. Perhaps automating the addition of a folder name and date to what the document creator cooks up as the subject of the document could be a happy medium between what Stephen is suggesting and the idiosyncrasies of box, which you rightly point out may not be the platform they use for the long term!

I've already learned so much in just these few exchanges, thank you! Would love to hear from others as well.

Best,
Gabi



On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 6:36 PM Stephen Bounds <km@...> wrote:

Hi Gabriela,

I would sound a note of caution about the use of document naming standards as a general practice. Noting that:

  • There is an increased cost of storage to use a naming standard
  • Benefits of naming generally rely upon frequent retrieval, but some studies found that over 30% of stored documents are never referenced again
  • Benefits may rely upon achieving a high level of compliance, and if so, remember that implies additional costs of enforcing compliance

you should absolutely strive for the minimum level required to achieve meaningful benefits (which may be zero).

Folder naming standards can be more productive since they scale -- that is, a single act of labelling applies to all documents contained within it, as long as there is an efficient way to store documents directly into a named folder. If people are manually navigating through a structure to save, that is generally about the same cost as manually typing a name, although less prone to data errors. This principle applies generally to all taxonomic structures.

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 21/04/2020 7:05 am, Gabriela Fitz wrote:
Hi Tom:

Yes, we are focusing on three things related to document management in box (which is the primary document storage platform for the organization): 1) document naming practices, 2) document sharing practices, and 3) creating/flagging authority documents. The one that I am tackling first and am unsure about is the document naming practice. I have a proposed convention, which is simply "Project_Subject_YYYYMMDD_v#", although I am considering dumping the date and version # since box handles this on its own and it might simply be too much to ask staff to put this into the name itself. If we can get them to clearly name the document and always upload a "new version" to box then that might be enough. I just don't know how particular to get in an org that right now doesn't have any naming conventions at all and don't want to be switching up the instructions anytime in the near future.

Hope that helps? I appreciate any insights you can offer!

Gabi


On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 12:19 PM Tom Short <tshortconsulting@...> wrote:
Can you share your partially drafted best practices to give us a sense of what your current thinking is? It would  help me better understand what you’re trying to do. 

Thanks. 



On Mon, Apr 20, 2020 at 10:01 AM Gabriela Fitz <gabi@...> wrote:

Hi All:

I hope this finds everyone safe and well. 

I have a question that is very in the weeds but I am hoping someone finds it interesting enough to help :)

I am working on a number of knowledge governance issues with a client and one of the "tiny habits" we are trying to change in order to improve search and discovery is how staff name their documents in box. I have a set of best practices partially drafted but thought I would ask you all for any practical advice and experience on implementing naming conventions before I get too detailed in my guidelines.

I don't expect this organization to wholesale adopt a shared practice around document naming (there are lots of staff whose professional identities are grounded in their sense of autonomy) but even a partial alignment of practices would go a long way!

I welcome any input and advice.

Many thanks,

Gabriela Fitz
Think Twice LLC
www.thinktwicellc.com

--
~Tom

Tom Short Consulting
 
+1 415.300.7457 

--
-Tom
--

Tom Short Consulting
TSC

+1 415 300 7457

All of my previous SIKM Posts



--

Gabriela Fitz

Think Twice LLC

773.882.8250 | LinkedIn

www.thinktwicellc.com

Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers






--

Gabriela Fitz

Think Twice LLC

773.882.8250 | LinkedIn

www.thinktwicellc.com


Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers





Stan Garfield
 


 

Hello Gabriela, 

How about adding the meta data? how does the search work in the system? these might be important things to consider otherwise document storage won't be used efficiently.

Best regards, Deependra


Murray Jennex
 

I'll add that it also works best where all the users have the same common context of understanding, meaning they all know the knowledge domain.  I found that once you start trying to use naming conventions that all knowledge users in an organization can follow, unless it is a pretty small organization it falls apart pretty quickly and the names become less and less meaningful....murray jennex

My experience goes back to Y2K once again.  We tried to use naming conventions for all electric utilities around the world.  It didn't work, too many language and cultural issues to make it happen and too much difference in the knowledge background of users.  What we found was that which worked for a single company couldn't be expanded to a region, country, or global.  Heck, I found that it was nearly impossible to use meaningful naming conventions in my very large organization.  What worked for nuclear didn't work for hydro or conventional plants or the transmission people.  What I learned is what sounds like a good idea is incredibly difficult to implement.  And this is still true, I do consulting to different utilities and each is their own world with their own language and culture.


-----Original Message-----
From: David Eddy <deddy@...>
To: SIKM@groups.io
Sent: Tue, Apr 21, 2020 4:59 am
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Getting Document Naming Conventions Adopted #guidelines

As you may or may not have experienced "naming conventions" is a very personal, perpetually contentious issue.

Creating "good names" works when there is a single control point.   The people who create the content IN THE DOCUMENTS are NOT that control point.  Point being: take the content creators out of the process of creating good, meaningful, consistent document names.

>
> I have a proposed convention, which is simply "Project_Subject_YYYYMMDD_v#", although I am considering dumping the date and version # since box handles this on its own
>

1/ - YYYYMMDD is absolutely ONLY correct, unambiguous date format.

2/ - I advocate using YYYYMMDD as a document PREFIX in many situations.  Relying on which ever software that's currently in vogue is risky.  I have experienced software that modifies the modification date simply by viewing the document.  People who embrace good filing practices tend to mentally file documents by events & time frames.  Dates as prefix make it easier to narrow in on "...that project I was working on just before Covid-19 hit..."

______
David Eddy
Boston SIKM
781-455-0949


Jonathan Ralton <jonralton@...>
 

Yes, thanks David for reminding us of this point about modified dates changing continuously... this is definitely something to watch out for especially as the latest versions of Office 365's Word/Excel/PowerPoint have AutoSave turning on by default. With increased co-authoring (multiple authors working on the same document concurrently via a collaboration platform such as Teams or SharePoint), the modification date/time is constantly updated often with just viewing. Additionally with an Excel document, if one does not change the data/contents but applies filters, sorting, etc. that still records as a change, causes a save, and those non-data/non-content alterations are set for everyone else viewing that document afterward. It can be extremely disorienting to others opening the file down the road.

As far as the naming format suggestions, I prefer CMSs to handle versioning and not save _v2.xxx files. Including a version requirement in your naming standards could continue to encourage the separate saving of versions instead of letting the systems handle this for you. If you're dealing with just a network drive/cold storage location, then that is irrelevant of course.

Jonathan

On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 7:59:35 AM EDT, David Eddy <deddy@...> wrote:

2/ - I advocate using YYYYMMDD as a document PREFIX in many situations.  Relying on which ever software that's currently in vogue is risky.  I have experienced software that modifies the modification date simply by viewing the document.  People who embrace good filing practices tend to mentally file documents by events & time frames.  Dates as prefix make it easier to narrow in on "...that project I was working on just before Covid-19 hit..."