Where's that file again?
January 24, 2012 4:52 PM Subscribe
Are there best practices for cataloging/storing files on a shared drive within an office environment?
posted by otherwordlyglow to Work & Money (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I work in a department with about 15 people in a huge institution. For our Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint files (general office stuff), we all store documents on a central drive, accessible to all of us through the standard Windows Explorer arrangement.
Each of us has projects that are specific to our role but we also collaborate on some projects and they can be projects with a life of anywhere from 2 weeks to 20+ years. Each of us has a folder at the top level of the central drive and we all have total control over the structure and contents of the subfolders within our own folder. Although there are a few things that get stored under a central top-level folder that we all contribute to, the vast majority of our work is stored in our own folders on the central drive even if it's something that more than one of us works on.
Our central drive is called J:\ So for example Kate and I work on Project A. She maintains a file for Project A under J:\Kate\Project A but I may store my stuff under J:\OWG\ProjectA and my folders within ProjectA may be of a totally different structure than hers under Project A.
I believe that the drive is backed up nightly but I really don't know much more about the back end or the technical infrastructure.
Obviously, I find this kind of maddening and it makes it really hard to maintain continuity if Kate is out and I need something that she worked on related to Project A. And then if Kate leaves the institution, it's nearly impossible to go back and find stuff even a year later when no one remembers who did what.
The question of how to name files is a different matter. Version control isn't a concern and we need to keep things simple so no SharePoint or other file management stuff. We do have central physical/paper files and they use an entirely different classification scheme that some consultant developed for us years ago and it doesn't really work either and needs to be entirely scrapped so that it mirrors, to the extent possible, the digital files.
For now, I'm trying to convince people to let go of some of the control over how "their" files are stored so that workflow isn't brought to standstill whenever anyone goes on vacation and institutional memory is preserved. How do other offices do this?