Organizing Your Electronic Folders

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Electronic documents are the files stored on your computer and shared drives, such as word processing documents, spreadsheets and digital photographs.

Document Naming

  • Establish document-naming conventions within your office to facilitate file sharing, efficient retrieval and version control.
  • Adopt file names that are specific and relevant to everyone, especially if the file will be shared with others. For example, rather than “MinutesJuly3.doc” use “2010-07-03 VCCMinutes.doc”. Mark final versions as such, and use dates to keep track of draft versions.
  • Keep a consistent format for including dates in file names (Year-Month-Day).
  • Use standard file formats that are easily accessed and opened by others. For example, your office may decide to standardize use of .doc (rather than .docx) as some do not have the software to open .docx files.
  • See this York University tip sheet for more guidance on file naming.

Organizing Electronic Documents

Organizing your electronic workspace into a streamlined structure will ensure electronic records are managed in accordance with University policy and remain accessible, authentic and complete.

  • Folders on your local computer and shared drives should reflect your offices paper file plan wherever possible.
  • Use a hierarchical structure (folders and subfolders) to organize your files. Folders containing records documenting your major responsibility will have more sub-folders than those for which you have little responsibility.
  • Subdivide folders by year to allow for efficient disposition of records.
  • See the bottom of this section for sample folder arrangement.

Disposition of Electronic Documents

While your office may have access to an abundance of server space for storing electronic documents, it is still important to dispose of electronic records whose retention periods have expired.

  • Do not retain draft versions of documents, unless they document significant changes in drafting a major policy or procedural document.
  • Follow the Victoria University Records Schedule for electronic documents, just as you would for paper documents.
  • Electronic records to be destroyed should be deleted. If recorded on disk, make sure to physically destroy the disk (do not just throw it out).
  • The Archives does not currently have the capacity to preserve electronic records. Electronic records destined for the Archives should be printed and filed. Contact the Records Manager for guidance.

Sample Directory Tree 1

Sample Directory Tree 1

This directory tree uses the top level functions of the Victoria University Records Schedule to classify records. This structure is effective for employees who will have many records that fall under multiple university functions.

Sample Directory Tree 2

Sample Directory Tree 1

This directory tree uses the second level of the Victoria University Records Schedule for the function that relates most closely to the employee’s responsibility (in order to provide quick access to these records). In this exmaple, the employee works in the Registrar’s Office, and so the student function (STU) constitutes most of the foldering. Records falling outside of this responsibility are then filed in folders using the top level functions.

See Classification: How to Organize Your Records, for more information on record classification.

Last updated: December 3, 2014

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