Developing and following a consistent file naming strategy can make data easier to find, particularly when large numbers of files exist. Although it's common to think that file names will be remembered in the future, unorganized files and folders can lead to frustration down the road.
Good file naming allows you to identify the contents of the file from the name. It may be useful to consider including some or all of the following information, as long as it is done consistently.
Common Elements for Folder or File Naming:
Rules of Thumb for File Naming:
Why Hyphens Instead of Underscores?
As anyone with data saved on a floppy disk probably realizes, technology changes constantly and, if not planned for, hardware and software obsolescence can render data inaccessible and unreadable. To ensure long-term accessibility of research data, researchers should consider using file formats that share these characteristics:
Data saved in proprietary formats are vulnerable to obsolescence. Here are examples of open file formats you can use to increase the likelihood that research data will be accessible in the future. A number of applications have been developed to open these types of files: