Love Your Data Week: It’s the 21st Century — Do you know where your data is?
February 9, 2016

Knowing how to manage, share, and protect your research data is crucial to your academic and professional success.

Follow us during Love Your Data Week, Feb. 8-12. We will guide you through five activities to help get your data organized, secure, and ready for write-up, sharing and reuse.

Have a plan for organizing your data. This usually includes a folder structure and file naming scheme (plan). Easier said than done, but check out the tips below!


Things to Avoid:


Google “bad file names” and browse through the images for entertainment


If you don’t already have a folder structure and/or file naming scheme, come up with one and share it. Some good practices are described below.

  • Be Clear, Concise, Consistent, Correct, and Conformant
    • Discuss as a team to decide on a scheme that works for the whole group
  • Make it meaningful (to you and anyone else who is working on the project)
  • Provide context so it will still be a unique file and people will be able to recognize what it is if moved to another location.
  • For sequential numbering, use leading zeros.
    • For example, a sequence of 1-10 should be numbered 01-10; a sequence of 1-100 should be numbered 001-010-100.
  • No special characters: & , * % # ; * ( ) ! @$ ^ ~ ‘ { } [ ] ? <>
    • Some people like to use a dash ( – ) to separate words
      Others like to separate words by capitalizing the first letter of each (e.g., DST_FileNamingScheme_20151216)

  • Dates should be formatted like this: YYYYMMDD (e.g., 20150209)
    • Put dates at the beginning or the end of your files, not in the middle
        OK: DST_FileNamingScheme_20151216
        OK: 20151216_DST_FileNamingScheme
        AVOID: DST_20151216_FileNamingScheme
    • Use only one period and before the file extension (e.g., name_paper.doc NOT name.paper.doc OR name_paper..doc)
    • Learn more at: