Organizing Historical Files and Documents on the Shared Drive

When restructuring the shared drive network, it is likely that there will be a considerable number of historical documents that need to be kept and archived. Often, records that are considered permanent, such as financial and personnel records, must be retained by the organization. Other records, such as strategy and business plans, provide history and background to an organization.

Historical data can be identified with the following criteria:

  • The data does not need to be accessed again and are solely being retained for historical and archival purposes;
  • The data are closed, completed, and finished, such as with projects and initiatives that do not have to be accessible;
  • The data relates to old businesses, sold assets, and dissolved entities or departments that do not need to be accessible but may be required for historical purposes; and/ or
  • Former employee work files (not their personnel file) that have been reviewed do not have to be accessible any longer but are still important to keep if future access is needed.

Be cautious moving historical data onto external hard drives. Although external hard drives are plug and play devices, once data is moved to an external hard drive it becomes forgotten and less accessible to staff. The following are ways to manage historical files on a Shared Drive network. These options should be discussed with IT and management before implementing an option.

  • Integrate into the file structure: Within the file structure, data can be organized chronologically to archive historical data, as shown in the screenshot below.
  •  Create a “historical” file folder: A folder labeled Historical or Archive can be created in the first line of file folders. Within this folder a mirror image of the first line of folders (i.e., divisions of an organization) can be made. When documents become outdated for each division, they can be moved into the same topical folder in the historical folder. Or sub-files can be designed by year. As files and documents become outdated they can be moved into the appropriate historical year folder.

 

 

 

 

  • Archive them on a separate drive: Another option to manage historical data is to create a separate drive allocated on the server solely for archived and historical information. The structure can be designed in one of the options recommended above. Keeping the archived data on the server enables the data to be accessible quickly. It also will update files and documents automatically as software and operating systems are upgraded. Another option is to store historical and archive data on an external hard drive.

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.

Renaming Multiple Documents in the Shared Drive

In Windows Explorer you can rename multiple files at one time, however it will the same file name with a sequential number at the end. To do this highlight or select all the files you want to rename in Windows Explorer, then right-click the first one and select Rename. Type your desired base file name and press Enter. All the files that were highlighted will be renamed to that exact same file name with a sequential number at the end. This is useful especially if you have pictures or graphics that are similar.  Here are more details to do this function that applies to Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 and 8,  How to Rename Multiple Documents in Windows XP.

All File Renamer, File Renamer and Rename are free renamerapplications that allow renaming of files, folders and documents in a batch mode and offer a lot more functionality. These tools actually allow you to change multiple files with only a partial change and not a full change. For instance, let’s say you have a client file and want to add to all the documents, the client name in the name of the document without changing the original file names, these utilities will do it.

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.

 

Project Management Support for Reorganization of the Shared Drive

Depositphotos_1306891_xsTaking on the task of reorganization and structure of the shared drive can be daunting. It is important to choose the right internal person to assist and manage this type of project. This type of project requires someone or a team to create user-friendly, standardized, comprehensive, and extensive file structure, taxonomy and data/record management guidelines.

Sometimes an organization delegates the project to entry level or administrative staff. However, with limited decision-making authority, these individuals are often hesitant to change, alter, move, or remove files and documents from the shared drive network. Further, without buy-in from all employees, revised structures developed by one staff often can end up to be a short-term solution and not long lasting.

It is important for organizations to train internal personnel, engage a team, or hire consultants who have IT knowledge and understanding along with a clear process of how to facilitate groups to develop guidelines and an electronic file structure that can last into the future. These project managers or consultants are essentially in organizing the project, facilitating the process and providing counsel on data management best practices.

It is recommended in choosing internal personnel as project managers or project team participants to have the following skills;

  • A good understanding of server Happy team. Isolated.systems and shared drive networks
  • Excellent group facilitation skills; with the ability to foster dialogue and gain group consensus
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to create file hierarchical systems and taxonomy
  • Strong skill in navigating and using functions and tools in Microsoft Office, and in particular Windows Explorer
  • Good knowledge of file extensions.

Information management, technology and professional organizing consultants can provide the service that offers the expertise needed to develop shared electronic file guidelines and structure. 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.

Electronic Document Naming Conventions Tips

Document naming conventions are important to facilitate better searching, access and retrieval of electronic files and documents whether on a personal computer or shared drive network. The following are items to be mindful of when creating document naming conventions:

  • Separators: An underscore (_) or dash (-) is recommended to use as the only separators for document naming conventions. This assists users to read naming conventions easily as well as clarifies separation of text for system search functions. Avoid using special charters in a document name such as: \ / : ; * ? “” < > [] & $. These characters may present errors in various systems that do not recognize them in document names.
  • Length of Document Name: Document file path and name on a Shared Drive cannot exceed 255 characters (this includes the file path of a document name and includes all characters including slashes, dashes, periods, underscores and spaces). It is important to be mindful when naming documents in a file folder that is a level six (6) or greater to keep it concise.
  • Use of Acronyms: In order to maximize search functionality spell out words and refrain from acronyms to the extent necessary to ensure clarity. Use only abbreviations and acronyms that are considered ‘global’ in use within the organization and identified on the organizations acronyms list.

To learn more how to organize computer documents, download the free report How to Organize Your Computer Documents.

The Benefits of Document Management Systems

Document or content management systems (DMS) are separate cloud-based systems that specifically manage electronic data and records. DMS systems are not only for large companies. Even in smaller offices, DMS systems can effectively help organizations file, store, search and collaborate on documents that need modification and/ or tracking. Although organizing the shared drive with an electronic file hierarchy structure and establishing clear guidelines is valuable, it does require more work to manage and maintain versus having data stored in a document/ content management system.

DMS systems have more robust functions of input, storage, search, and access of data than the mere file management tools that come on computers such as Windows Explorer. DMS systems allow users to find data not only through a file hierarchy structure. These systems have additional information related to a document such as keywords, categorization, and indexing, all of which make searching and finding data much easier. It also compresses data so that it has the ability to store significant numbers of documents in a smaller amount of space, increasing server efficiency. DMS systems also have auto-archive and auto-delete functions that make adhering to record retention and compliance guidelines instantaneous.

A common file repository in a document/content management system is an opportunity to create a consistent records management system that will provide the following benefits;

  • Create ease and simplicity for users to have one centralized system to manage official records and documents.
  • Improve accessibility permissions and ease of filing electronic documents and records through one centralized system that is cloud-based and accessible via mobile devices.
  • Documents and records are automatically indexed and increased searching functionality will be available.
  • Easier access to shared information and documents within the entire organization.
  • Easier management of records retention through increased system functionality and centralized data location to manage data.
  • Easier access to collaborate on documents, manage version control and access important information quickly through one centralized access point.
  • Lays the foundation for a paperless office by reducing official paper files and increase reliance and trust on one centralized electronic system.

It is important to organize documents on the Shared Drive before being uploaded to a document management system. 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.