File naming conventions and best practices for cultural institutions
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File naming conventions and best practices for cultural institutions

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This document was initially generated as an internal document to outline the procedures for a small institution. At the request of a number of professionals, I have ...

This document was initially generated as an internal document to outline the procedures for a small institution. At the request of a number of professionals, I have broadened this document to function as a more general set of guidelines for use by other cultural heritage institutions. Please note that the File Naming Guidelines within were developed based upon the needs of one institution, using existing published best practices, and the reader’s own institution may have established procedures. If this is the case, the Process and Guidelines below may serve as templates going forward, or may be modified as needed.

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File naming conventions and best practices for cultural institutions File naming conventions and best practices for cultural institutions Document Transcript

  • File-­‐naming  conventions  and  best  practices  for  cultural  heritage  collections     Introduction:   This  document  was  generated  initially  as  an  internal  document  to  outline  the  procedures  for  a   small  institution.  At  the  request  of  a  number  of  professionals,  I  have  broadened  this  document   to  function  as  a  more  general  set  of  guidelines  for  use  by  other  cultural  heritage  institutions.   Please  note  that  the  File  Naming  Guidelines  below  were  developed  based  upon  the  needs  of   one  institution,  using  existing  published  best  practices,  and  the  reader’s  own  institution  may   have  established  procedures.  If  this  is  the  case,  the  Process  and  Guidelines  below  may  serve  as   templates  going  forward,  or  may  be  modified  as  needed.  However,  the  following  rules  should   always  be  adhered  to:     1. Exclude  special  characters  from  filenames,  including:  “  *  :  <  >  ?    |  periods  and  spaces.   Underscores  and  dashes  are  acceptable:  _  -­‐  Lowercase  only,  including  file  extensions,  is   preferred,  because  if  the  institution  is  placing  media  online,  or  plans  to  in  the  future,  the   way  URLS  are  case-­‐sensitive  may  affect  the  file  being  retrieved  efficiently.  It’s  not  a  big   problem,  but  can  cause  some  difficulty.   2. Unique  filenames  for  every  image  or  media.  Like  culture  collections,  unique  filenames   for  each  representation  is  extremely  important.   a. There  is  some  debate  as  to  whether  or  not  the  file  name  should  bear  a  human-­‐ readable  relationship  to  the  item  or  subject  it’s  representative  of.  However,  files   generated  by  Digital  Asset  Management  Systems  (DAMS)  will  be  assigned  their   own  unique  identifier  (UID).  I  am  personally  of  the  opinion  that  it  simply  makes  it   easier  to  organize  digital  assets,  regardless  of  if  the  files  relate  to  cultural   objects,  exhibits,  events,  or  marketing.   3. Keep  the  filename  shorter  than  255  characters.  Old  systems  have  a  limit  of  25-­‐25   characters,  but  modern  computers  and  operating  systems  can  handle  up  to  255.     Process:   1. Materials  are  digitized  according  to  internal  digitization  procedures  –  National  Archives   and  Records  Administration  “Technical  Guidelines  for  Digitizing  Archival  Materials  for   Electronic  Access”  (June  2004)   http://www.archives.gov/preservation/technical/guidelines.html  is  a  preferred   resource.  Select  the  PDF  to  view  recommended  best-­‐practices  for  Master  ,  including  file   sizes  and  formats,  for  archival  and  access-­‐level  digitization.   2. Master  File  is  named  according  to  File  Naming  Guidelines.   3. Preferred:  File  is  named  and  descriptive  metadata  embedded  (using  Adobe  Bridge,   Photoshop,  or  Lightroom  for  images.  A  DAMS  can  also  be  used  for  embedding   metadata).   4. File  is  processed  (TIFF  to  JPG;  to  PDF  if  needed;  AVI  or  MOV  for  video,  WAV  and  MP3  for   audio)   a. Scrapbooks  and  other  large  related  sets  of  images  should  be  bundled  into  PDF   format.   b. If  a  DAMS  is  in  use,  a  JPG  derivative  is  generally  not  required,  as  it  will  be   generated  by  the  DAMS  as  required.  Prepared  by  Perian  Sully,  http://www.emphatic.org.  Revised  3/29/2011     1  
  • File-­‐naming  conventions  and  best  practices  for  cultural  heritage  collections     c. Refer  to  the  NARA  guidelines  at  http://www.archives.gov/records-­‐ mgmt/initiatives/dav-­‐faq.html  for  more  information  about  audio  and  video   formats.   5. Store  Master  files  away  from  Access  files,  preferably  in  offsite  storage  or  within  RAID   arrays.  Refer  to  Digital  Preservation  in  Museums  –  Recommendations,  Canadian   Heritage  Information  Network  (2003)  (http://www.pro.rcip-­‐ chin.gc.ca/contenu_numerique-­‐digital_content/preservation_recommandations-­‐ preservation_recommendations/index-­‐eng.jsp)  for  a  set  of  recommendations  about   migration,  evaluation,  cycling  of  media,  and  other  preservation  practices.   6. Store  Access  files  in  locations  accessible  to  staff,  but  without  folder  permissions  that   allow  staff  to  change  or  delete  files.   File  Naming  Guidelines:   Exclude  the  following  characters  from  filenames:  “  *  :  <  >  ?    |  periods  and  spaces.  Lowercase   only,  including  file  extensions.   Filenames  should  all  point  to  the  accession  number  of  the  item  or  collection.     Museum  or  Library  Items  (or  for  images  without  prefixes  in  the  accession  number)   Accession  Number   Shot  type   Filename   2009.0.33   Single  image  of  piece   2009-­‐0-­‐33_001   2009.0.33   Front  of  piece   2009-­‐0-­‐33_001   Back  of  piece   2009-­‐0-­‐33_002   2009.0.34a-­‐b   Both  pieces  together   2009-­‐0-­‐34a-­‐b_001   Both  pieces  separately   2009-­‐0-­‐34a-­‐b_002   Piece  a  (whole,  no  detail)   2009-­‐0-­‐34a_001   Piece  b  (whole)   2009-­‐0-­‐34b_001   Piece  b  (detail)   2009-­‐0-­‐34b_002   LIB  67.3271   Front  cover   lib67-­‐3271_001   Inside  front  cover  and  forward   lib67-­‐3271_002  through  _***     Archival  Items  (or  for  collection  items  with  prefixes)   Accession  Number   Shot  type   Filename   WJHC  1967.014.*   A  physical  object  (silver,   wjhc1967-­‐014-­‐*  _001  (as   painting,  sculpture,  textile)  to  be   above)   “removed”  from  the  archives   and  cataloged  according  to   museum  practices  at  the  item   level.  The  *  refers  to  the   number  assigned  according  to   the  archivist  and  other  objects   already  catalogued  in  this  way.   WJHC  1967.014.AR1.1   A  photo  album  within  the  first    Prepared  by  Perian  Sully,  http://www.emphatic.org.  Revised  3/29/2011     2  
  • File-­‐naming  conventions  and  best  practices  for  cultural  heritage  collections     collection  belonging  to  the     accession  root  WJHC  1967.014,     and  subcollection  AR1   wjhc1967-­‐014-­‐ar1-­‐1_001   Front  cover   wjhc1967-­‐014-­‐ar1-­‐1_002   Page  1   wjhc1967-­‐014-­‐ar1-­‐1_3_001   Page  2  (whole)   wjhc1967-­‐014-­‐ar1-­‐1_3_002   Page  2  (detail)   WJHC  1972.001.AR1.2   A  stack  of  handwritten  pages     from  the  same  letter:     Sheet  1,  side  a   wjhc1972-­‐001-­‐ar1-­‐2_001a   Sheet  1,  side  b   wjhc1972-­‐001-­‐ar1-­‐2_001b   Sheet  2,  side  a   wjhc1972-­‐001-­‐ar1-­‐2_002a   Sheet  2,  side  b   wjhc1972-­‐001-­‐ar1-­‐2_002b     These  guidelines  may  also  be  followed  for  audio  and  video  content.   Bibliography   Digital  Preservation  in  Museums  –  Recommendations,  Canadian  Heritage  Information  Network   (2003)  (http://www.pro.rcip-­‐chin.gc.ca/contenu_numerique-­‐ digital_content/preservation_recommandations-­‐preservation_recommendations/index-­‐eng.jsp   access  3/29/2011)   Frequently  Asked  Questions  (FAQ)  About  Digital  Audio  and  Video  Records,  National  Archives  and   Records  Administration  (http://www.archives.gov/records-­‐mgmt/initiatives/dav-­‐faq.html     accessed  3/29/2011)   Technical  Guidelines  for  Digitizing  Archival  Materials  for  Electronic  Access,  National  Archives   and  Records  Administration  (June  2004)   (http://www.archives.gov/preservation/technical/guidelines.html  accessed  3/29/2011)    Prepared  by  Perian  Sully,  http://www.emphatic.org.  Revised  3/29/2011     3   View slide