Andrea Baruzzi (Sciences)

Sarah Elichko (Social Sciences)

Keeping your files, folders, and research life in order

creating

editing

saving

sharing

Today's focus:

# Why bother?

• Reduce time and energy spent on logistics

• Improve collaboration

• Opportunity to think through your work

• Can facilitate using digital tools for analysis

# Folders

provide structure

(because without them, all you'd have is this...)

## Folder Structure: Common Patterns

/[Program]/[Year]/[Aspect of program]

/[Project]/[Type of file]/[Data collector name]/[YYYYMMDD]

/butterfly/tabular/mcneill/20160117
/butterfly/images/mcneill/20160117

/2016-2017/fall/hist091/paper1

/2016-2017/fall/soan098/proposal

Jan 17, 2016

/RIAs/2016-2017/applications
/RIAs/2016-2017/lesson_plans

# Folder Structure: Best Practices

• Format dates, numbers, and names so they sort well   (sortable)

Machine-friendly:

Human-friendly:

• Choose names that make sense to you   (skimmable)

• Use consistent abbreviations + terms   (predictable)

# Folder Structure: Best Practices

### Format dates so they sort well

// Machine-friendly //

To sort correctly, use:     YYYY-MM-DD

YYYY-MM-DD

2011-10-13

20111013

Year-Month-Day

2015-10-12

20151012

# Folder Structure: Best Practices

### Use leading zeroes so numbers sort well

// Machine-friendly //

Usual practice:

• List as entered: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

• When sorted:     1, 10, 11, 12, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Better practice:

• List as entered:   001, 002 ... 010, 011, 012

• When sorted:       001, 002 … 010, 011, 012

# Folder Structure: Best Practices

### Format names so they sort well

// Machine-friendly //

Typical sort order*:

1. Underscores
2. Numbers
3. Letters

* on most systems, including       Google Drive and Mac

Folders sorted alphabetically:

_2017-07-14
2017-07-14
2017-08-01
ASAP
SOON
TODAY

# Folder Structure: Best Practices

## Try it out

• Adjust dates so they're sortable:

YYYY-MM-DD
2017-06-23

in folder names:

001, 002 ... 010, 011, 012

# Folder Structure: Best Practices

Research-Group-A / Project-1

Research-Group-A / Project-2

2016-2017 / Fall / ANTH-043E
2016-2017 / Fall / SOCI-055C

// Human Friendly //

# Folder Structure: Best Practices

// Human Friendly //

### Use consistent abbreviations + terms   (predictable)

• If there's a standard out there, use it
(e.g. department abbreviations)

• If not, document your decision (see below)

• Short & simple - what do you mean by xyz

1.)  What are the key structures that organize your work?

Semesters

Courses

Projects

Groups / Collaborations

Do any repeat?  These might make good top-level folders.

Research-Group-A / Project-1

Research-Group-A / Project-2

Meetings

Assignments

2016-2017 / Fall / ANTH-043E
2016-2017 / Fall / SOCI-055C

2.)  Do any structures "nest" inside others?

Semesters

Courses

Projects

Groups / Collaborations

These might make good mid-level folders.

Meetings

Assignments

Research-Group-A / Project-1

Research-Group-A / Project-2

2016-2017 / Fall / ANTH-043E / paper1
2016-2017 / Fall / SOCI-055C / paper2

3.)  What kinds of documents do you generate while working?

Drafts

Procedures

Images

Numerical data

Meeting notes / minutes

Notes (ideas, etc.)

Do any repeat?  If so, these might make good sub-folders.

Research-Group-A / Project-2 / MeetingNotes

2016-2017 / Fall / ANTH-043E / paper1 / notes

Class notes

# Putting it all together: Folder Structure Examples

/butterfly/tabular/mcneill/20160117
/butterfly/images/mcneill/20160117

/Research-Group-A/Project-2/MeetingNotes

/2016-2017/fall/anth-043e/paper1/notes

/2016-2017/fall/hist091/paper1

/2016-2017/fall/soan098/proposal

/RIAs/2016-2017/applications
/RIAs/2016-2017/lesson_plans

/Research-Group-A/Project-1
/Research-Group-A/Project-2

# Files

Which would you prefer to find on your laptop...

six months from now?

# File Naming Best Practices

• Include some descriptive info  (skimmable)

Be consistent  (predictable)

Human-friendly:

• Use versioning - avoid "final final FINAL.pdf"  (sortable)

• Keep it simple - no special characters  (compatible)

Machine-friendly:

Reliable:

• Choose a future-friendly file format (when possible)

# File Naming Best Practices

/ Research-Group-A / Project-2 / MeetingNotes

Include some descriptive information

even if files are inside well-labeled folders       (skimmable)

# File Naming Best Practices

/ 2016-2017 / Fall / ANTH-043E / paper1

Use versioning - avoid "final final FINAL.pdf"

• Sequential numbers indicate change over time  (sortable)

• Text labels explain versions  (skimmable, understandable)

# File Naming Best Practices

Keep it simple - no special characters

• Good:  letters, numbers, underscores (_), dashes (-)

even better: all lower-case

• Avoid: other punctuation marks & special characters, spaces

data-survey04.xls

data.survey.4.xls

# File Naming Best Practices

• Good:  letters, numbers, underscores (_), dashes (-)

even better: all lower-case

• Avoid: other punctuation marks & special characters, spaces

data-survey04.xls

data.survey.4.xls

## Try it out

Using sample data or your data,
improve a few file names.

Examples:

# File Naming Best Practices

Use a future-friendly file format (when possible)

Aim for file formats that are:

• Non-proprietary
• Open, documented standard
• Commonly used by research community
• Recommended here (Library of Congress)

# File Naming Best Practices

Use a future-friendly file format (when possible)

Spreadsheets / tabular data: CSV  (not Excel/.xlsx)
Text: TXT, PDF/A, or ODF  (not Word/.docx)

Still images: TIFF, JPEG 2000
Moving images: MPEG-4, AVI, MXF

Sounds: WAVE, AIFF, MP3, MXF

Statistics: ASCII, DTA, POR, SAS, SAV

# Storage Best Practices

Ask: When might you need this again?

• Later this semester

• Applying for internships (next spring?)

• Taking a related course (next year?)

• Applying for a job or graduate school

# Storage Best Practices

Personal folders
Group folders (AODocs)

Larger, more complex storage needs

# Putting it into practice

Something > nothing

• Start small
• Don't psych yourself out

Andrea Baruzzi

Sarah Elichko

ITS Help Desk

# What do we mean by organized?

## • Reliable

Skimmable

• Easily read at a glance

Understandable

Predictable

• Easy to keep up

# What do we mean by organized?

## • Reliable

Sortable

• Can be arranged correctly

Compatible

• Names that won't confuse systems