My name is Susan Kistler and I am the Executive Director of the American Evaluation Association. It is my pleasure to contribute each Saturday’s post to the aea365 blog.
One challenge for me is organizing and finding the volumes of files and emails on my computer. Towards that end, I offer one Hot Tip and one Rad Resource that have helped me over the years.
Hot Tip: Naming Conventions – Using file naming conventions helps me to keep track of and find files. Here are three that have contributed considerably in my own efforts to manage, sort and track files:
- Dates: Use a consistent approach to dates and attach them to the name of any document that will be vetted or have multiple versions over time. For cyclical items, such as monthly reports, we use the month name at the end to represent the final version, for items that have multiple versions, we use a six digit date format such as ‘012210’.
- Personal Versus Professional: Use a consistent prefix for personal versus professional files. For me, those are “aea10…” (for 2010) and “sjk10…” This prevents (or at least considerably hinders!) my accidentally sending a personal file to a professional colleague and allows for quick sorting.
- Create a Hierarchy: Major projects all get their own naming abbreviation that we place right after the professional prefix, again for ready sorting and identification.
What does this all look like?
- aea09.aea365.guidelines.121209 – this would be the version of the aea365 contribution guidelines that was circulating on December 12 of 2009
- aea10.elibrary.value – this would be a handout that we made on adding value to eLibrary contributions
- aea09.nl.policywatch.oct – this would be the final version of the October 2009 policywatch newsletter column from George Grob – his November one is named the same except with ‘nov’ as the final portion.
Rad Resource: X1 Search Tool: X1 has rescued me more than once from that search for a report or email from three years ago. It indexes all of my emails (198,000 and counting) and files (25,000 and counting) and allows for both broad and detailed searching and drilldown based on any word, document, date, recipient, location, and/or file type. And its fast – really fast. I’ve tried other products, but for me the speed, accuracy, and in particular the capacity to refine searches, have made X1 a godsend. It costs $50. Learn more at http://www.x1.com/
The tips, tricks, and resources reflected above represent my own interests and work and do not represent an endorsement from AEA.
This contribution is from the aea365 Daily Tips blog, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.