Developing Responsibility to Maintain Organization on the Shared Drive

Responsibility Road SignOnce you get the shared drive reorganized it is important to establish accountability and responsibility to help maintain file structure and organization. As organizations evolve and change, so do file structures and record guidelines. It is essential for a person or department be accountable for the documents, records, and knowledge of the organization to maintain good record keeping. This can be the IT department or a person can be identified in each department or area of the company or organization. This person could have a title called ‘Organization Record Manager’, ‘Department Shared Drive Manager’ or ‘Electronic Record Coordinator’.

The following is a list of possible duties that this person would be responsible for as it relates to documents and records on the Shared Drive network:

  • Planning and coordinating annual review and purge of the shared drive with their respective department or area
  • Updating the shared drive guidelines and/or policy
  • Periodic check and review of the file structure on the shared drive to ensure it is in accordance with the guidelines
  • If unknown or unauthorized files are found, investigate ownership and accountability
  • Providing training for new hires, including contractors or employees, on the shared drive structure and guidelines
  • Authorize user permissions for restricted files within the respective department or area

It is also important to establish end-user and staff accountability. The responsibility for managing individual files or documents should reside with the author, team, or department who created the original file. The document originator or end-user should be responsible for:

  • Managing owner or authored files and documents on the shared drive
  • Ensure the file and its contents are in accordance with the file structure and document naming conventions
  • Removing the file and/or document contents, per the retention guidelines

Establishing this accountability will help an organization to maintain good structure and organization on the shared drive as well as create accountability for all staff to be responsible for good record and file keeping for the organization.

To learn how to organize electronic files on the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.

How to Develop File Hierarchies to Organize Computer Documents

When developing a file hierarchy to organize electronic documents it is important to consider if a structure requires multiple lines of sub-directories. If so, it is best to encourage the use of short folder names to stay within the Microsoft maximum file name and path size of 255 characters. It is also important to be consistent with type cases. Some organizations might prefer all file folders in caps; whereas, others usually make the first letter of the file name cap only. File names and document names are not case sensitive within Windows or Mac systems.

The First Line: Generally, a major department or division of the organization should organize the first line of files. Often teams or departments begin creating their file structure and taxonomy with the second line of files.

The Second Line: The second line of files should be organized by the sub-structure of the division or department which includes a listing of their sub-departments, branches, and/or major functional areas. Also, the second line could include general information for the division including administration, forms, organizational charts, strategic plans, etc.

The Third and Beyond Lines: The third and beyond line of files should be organized by one of the sub-topic methods:

1. Subject; (i.e. budgets, marketing, finance)

2. Alphabetically by name; (i.e. Smith, John)

3. Chronologically; (i.e. by year)

4. Number; and (i.e. project number, contract number, policy number)

5. Geographic region (i.e. city, state, region, country)

Choose a sub-filing option that will be the first reference point to access information. For example if there is a second line folder called “Budgets,” the users could create the third line sub-file by year, by area within the department, or by location of an office. Again, it is important to choose the sub-topic method by the first reference or access point. In this example, it is more common with budgets that the first reference point is by calendar or fiscal year, but that could be different for other organizations.

To learn how to organize electronic files and the shared drive, download the report How to Organize Electronic Documents on Shared Drive Networks. Or you are welcome to contact us and we can assist you.