Lately I’ve been thinking about the backlog of electronic files that I should tag with metadata and that I should rename for consistency and ease of access. (I wrote about that in this post, It’s all about access.) When I think about doing all that, I get overwhelmed. And then I don’t want to do any of it.
I realized though, that I don’t have to wait until the backlog has been completed to start establishing new patterns with new files that I save. It’s just like I tell my clients who have an overabundance of accumulated mail in their homes: They don’t have to go through all the old mail before figuring out how to handle the new mail.
So starting today, I’m creating a simple file naming system for individual files. (I think it’s going to be Year-Document Type-First Name-Last Name). And all new files will be named accordingly. I’ll also work on creating the habit of adding metadata immediately after saving a file. So my new files will be in good shape and I won’t be adding to the backlog. At the same time, little by little, I can work through my backlog of files and change file names and add metadata tags. I can do it systematically. And I can also just edit the file name and add metadata every time I find myself accessing a file.
One of my personal mantras is “Let it be easy.” This feels like an easy approach to a project that’s been causing me a little stress.
Edited in 2017 to add: I actually settled on a slightly different file name convention. It’s Year Document Type-Name-Location. For example, 1943 Death Certificate-Elmer Adams-Olympia, WA.jpg