File naming conventions for routing documents past multiple editors

In a typical office, several people have to read a document - the writers, the editors, a manager, the signatory to the document, and possibly some artists.

In many offices, this is carried out over email. The problem with this technique are multiple, but for the backup administrator, the main problem is that each mailed file consumes space in the mail server's file system. It wastes space and network resources.

It also fails to scale up past small documents. Imagine editing long documents this way - it's not realistic.

The standard solution is to have everyone work on a shared file system.

Some offices use a system of "folders" where a document is edited, and versions are moved from one folder to another -- each folder acting as a kind of inbox and workspace. The folders within a project may be named "source", "edit", "review", "signed". Specific people look at each folder, and work on the contents within.

Some offices use project names, but other use project numbers. Numbers may actually work better than names, because people are generally good at mapping numbers to names, but not as good going the other direction (think about how much easier it is to see a phone number and identify the caller than it is to remember a phone number). Not only that, but, numbers are more precise than words -- people won't mix up "9099" and "9080", but they may mix up "Ford" and "Ford Foundation" and thus create confusion.

Some offices alter the file name of a document as it's modified. For example, you start with a document named "2010-Tribe.doc". As it gets edited, the file accumulated editor initials: "2010-Tribe.a.doc" then "2010-Tribe.aj.doc", and so forth as each person reviews the work.

Because the name changes, the backup software that runs every night will save each revision of the file separately. Similarly, if you use a file syncing software, you can accumulate revisions onto your backup.