Document naming conventions

Naming documents in a standardised, logical and intuitive way ensures that team members and collaborators can discover, manage and access University records when needed.

Why use naming conventions?

Using consistent naming conventions has many benefits, including:

  • Improved retrieval of documents on shared drives and University systems
  • Facilitated disposal of documents when no longer required for business
  • Ensured current or active version of a templates can be easily identified
  • Supported sharing of information within your team and with collaborators
  • Easier and more efficient file naming for colleagues as they don't have to 're-think' the process each time.

Is there a University-wide naming convention that my team can use?

No. Given the size and diversity of activities conducted by the University, having one single naming convention is not practicable. Instead, we recommend staff use the suggestions on this page to form guidelines that are useful and pragmatic for your business area.

What is an example of a good naming convention?

Good naming examples include:

  • [Project number] - Data Use Agreement - [Title of research project]
  • Approval - Change to employee travel policy - February 2014
  • MGSE Marketing - [Title of event] 2017 - Signage - Lifts

How to develop naming conventions?

Establish good foundations

  • Keep file names short but meaningful
  • Include any unique identifiers, e.g. case number, project title
  • Be consistent
  • Indicate version number where appropriate
  • Ensure the purpose of the document is quickly and easily identifiable

Try to avoid

  • Common words such as 'draft', 'letter', 'current' or 'active'
  • Unclear, vague or repetitive e-mail correspondence titles
  • Symbol characters such as: \ / < > | " ? [ ] ; = + & $ α β
  • Abbreviations that are not commonly understood, or which may frequently change throughout time

Consult and identify needs

Discuss the naming conventions with your team and collaborators. For example:

  • How does your team search for information?
  • Is there anything specific that should be included?
  • What key information is required to quickly and easily identify what a file or document is?

A unit may use internal identifiers for a project such as ARC/NHMRC grant ID, THEMIS agreement number or student number.

Document and review

Ensuring naming conventions are documented and made accessible to current and future staff, and included in local staff on-boarding process, will encourage staff to use them.

Reviewing the conventions each calendar year will ensure they remain current and relevant.

Further information

For catered advice on the creation of naming conventions, contact Records & Information: records-info@unimelb.edu.au.