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Meaningful filenames

2,853 bytes added, 11:37, 4 August 2008
rewrite of introductory piece
After thinking about the limits to how we can structure our files and folder (see [[Portable_Filenames]]) the next step is developing a semantic controlled vocabulary.= Introduction =
Before launching too deep into this lets look This article is about naming files in a meaningful way. Naturally files should have unique names so we don't end up with several files with the same or very similar names. This article takes file naming one step further by looking at how the file name itself can carry useful information about the file. This article continues on from the article about [[Portable_Filenames]] where the purpose is looking at what characters (letters, numbers and symbols) we want can have in our file names, and other limits on a file naming system. == Why meaningful filenames == If all names are kept unique why also try to achieveembed meaning in the file name itself? Here are some approaches to managing information about information which which you might recognise:* File names and directory hierarchies can help describe the contents. By placing a picture called ''second birthday.jpg'' in a directory called ''My son James'' we have stored data (the picture relates to James' second birthday) about the data (the picture of the birthday party).* Understandable Data about data (called ''metadata'', ([ Wikipedia's ''Metadata'' entry]) can also be stored inside the file it describes, for example:** HTML, the language of webpages, uses tags like ''<span style="normalText">Example</span>''. Here the meta data describes the style of the text, ie: ''Example'' is ''normalText''** EXIF ([ Wikipedia's ''EXIF'' entry]) is a way of storing meta data in image files, like when the photo was taken and what type of camera was used* Database systems (GRAMPS is a database system for genealogy) can store a huge amount of data about data. They're are very efficient at this job and very powerful.** Google Search uses a database to remember what web pages are about, and tells you when you ask So why not use one of those options?  * EXIF is great, but only for some types of files, there are lots of different systems for different types of files. People are working hard to improve this situation all the time. * HTML is great if you can store all your information as HTML files, but HTML files cannot contain other files, they just point to them. So we'd basically end up making a website about our files.* A database, well we already use this when we use GRAMPS. The GRAMPS database stores lots of information about the files and records it records. But GRAMPS does not store the actual file inside the database. If the connection between GRAMPS and the data it is describing is broken, then the files are just files. They contain no more information than they did when you first ''imported'' them into GRAMPS. This system of ''meaningful filenames'' has the following aims:* Preserving enough metadata to give the file's content context without GRAMPS* Computer readable filenamesCreating file names normal people can understand so they can see what the file is about without GRAMPS* Creating file names which a computer can process easily so files need to be batch processed and metadata can be read directly from the file name without possible confusion* A Creating a system simple enough to rememberuse all the time for every file
To be understandable we need to be able to use full words where appropriate.

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