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There are some fundamental decisions that you need to make when you start your research, and data organization should be within this set. The choices that you make will vary based on type of research that you do, but everyone must address the same issues. Consider the following things as you organize your data:
File names should provide context for the files that they name, and distinguish them from files that may be similar. Many files are used independently of their file or directory structure, so provide sufficient description in the file name.
1. Be consistent
2. Be descriptive so others can understand your meaning.
Try to keep file and folder names under 32 characters.
Within reason, Include relevant information such as:
Directory Structure Naming Conventions
The structure of directories/folders for organizing the files should also have a clear, documented naming convention.
The top-level folder or directory should include the project title, unique identifier, and date (year).
Directories/folders within the substructure should be divided by a common theme. For example. each folder may contain a run of an experiment or a different version of each dataset.
Adapted from: GeorgiaTech and University of Oregon
Datasets identifiers will allow your data to be referenced and shared. Data identifiers must be globally unique and persistent: they must not be repeated elsewhere and they must not change over time.
|URI||Uniform Resource Identifier|
|PURL||Persistent Uniform Resource Locator|
|DOI||Digital Object Identifier|
|HDL||The Handle System|
|InChI||IUPAC International Chemical Identifier|
File Naming Conventions for Specific Disciplines
Many communities of practice have standard recommendations, for example:
(Adapted from GeorgiaTech)
The ETDplus project has published a Data Organization and a Version Control guidance brief. These are short "how to" documents written for a student audience, designed to assist students with data management issues related to their theses and dissertations.
You can access the six Guidance Briefs from ETDplus through the Tools and Resources page.
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