Naming Conventions


In order to upload a digitized object and its matching metadata information, they need to share the same filename with a different extension (e.g., both a digital file and its corresponding metadata would both share the filename ‘testcollection_01_001.tif’).

In general, use the following guidelines to name your digitized materials:

  1. If you have previously digitized your materials, keep the existing filenames. Ensure that the metadata that is sent to the BCRDH team includes the filenames that you used.
  2. If your physical materials have existing control numbers, use a filename that matches the control number.
    1. Control numbers may vary by institution. In some cases this will be the accession number or collection number that was assigned to the item during accession or processing. In other cases, it might just be a number that was assigned to the object at some point in time.
  3. If your repository does not use control numbers at all, or if the collection, fonds, or grouping of items you are digitizing does not utilize control numbers, please get in contact with us.

Tips on Filenaming

  • There are some characters that you may use as part of your control numbers that should not, or cannot, be added to a filename. These include the following characters: * (asterisk), " (quotation mark), / (forward slash), \ (backward slash), : (colon), ; (semi-colon), | (vertical bar), < (less than symbol), > (greater than symbol), and ? (question mark). As such, if your control numbers utilize any of the aforementioned characters, consider replacing them with a - (dash) or _ (underscore)
  • Avoid using descriptive filenames (ex. naming a photograph of a dog "dog.jpg"), which can make it difficult to locate and differentiate between items later on
  • Use unique filenames that are easy to match back to the physical object
  • Avoid using spaces in filenames. Spaces can be replaced with a - (dash) or _ (underscore)
  • If you have multiple items with the same control number, add a collection number or collection identifier at the beginning of the filename. For example, if you have multiple photographs labeled "001" across several collections, the filename could be COLL01_001.tif
  • Some of your items may have multiple pages, parts, or sides but still have a single control number. In this case, append the end of the filename with an alphabetic character. Example: If your repository was digitizing a postcard with the control number ARC_01_001 the corresponding digital derivatives would have the filenames ARC_01_001A and ARC_01_001B.
  • If your materials have no item numbers, but you want to reflect the organization of the fonds or collection they are contained within, you can create a filename using the following syntax [Collection#_box# _folder#_item#]. Example: If you are digitizing the first photograph, from the first folder, from the first box of your first collection, your filename could be 001_001_001_001.tif