Naming Files for Clarity and Version Control

Bendigo Kangan Institute of TAFE Resource | Dip PWE – Advanced Editing
© Geoff Brown 2014

Naming files for clarity and version control

Hi all, Let’s go through file-naming conventions in regard to controlling the versions of files so that the LATEST file is easy to find. Naming conventions are vital for proper version control. Version control means keeping track of the editing process and the order of files during this process. It is no use having the latest edited/copy-edited/proofed file if you can’t find out which one it is without opening EACH and EVERY file in your folder. The naming system I am about to go through will ensure you can find the files for every single stage of the writing and editing process without having to worry about mixing them up.

Let’s start with the basic file name as submitted (or as finished if you are planning to edit your own stuff). We will use the anthology SNAFU: Wolves at the Door as an example.

Upon receipt of submissions, they will be renamed as: [year_month_day]_SW_[authorsurname] _[title] The SW stands for Snafu Wolves so we always know which book a file is for, just in case. Of course, the author name and title will reflect individual authors and titles.

A submission called Wolfman by James Smith would be named: 2014_09_12_SW_smith_wolfman

This is to allow the author names to flow alphabetically within the appropriate dates. Dates in the filename, and more specifically the dates in year_month_day format allow the most recent names to be down the bottom of the list, so every file, as it is saved and worked on, allows for the ability to easily keep track of the most recent version. For the first round of structural editing, I would open the file and then immediately rename it thus: 2014_09_12_SW_smith_wolfman_structedit I would save it in a different folder within the story folder, likely naming the folder: SW_structuraledits

You would then send this file to the author as named, and ask them to rework the structure as suggested. Also ask that when they return the file they change the file name to: [year_month_day]_SW_[authorsurname]_[title]_structreview.

Assuming it takes a week to rewrite, it would be named: 2014_09_19_SW_smith_wolfman_structreview

This would occur at each stage of editing, with copyedit/copyreview and proofedit/proofreview as the final part of each filename. Ensure all files are kept in separate folders, so as to have full records of each stage of the editing process.

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