Library:Circle/File Naming Conventions

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cIRcle File Naming Conventions


This document provides guidelines on the naming of non-thesis/dissertation files in cIRcle.

File naming conventions for UBC theses and dissertations may be found on the Submitting Theses and Dissertations to cIRcle and Submitting Creative Arts Theses and Dissertations to cIRcle (MFA and MMus only) guides.

Please contact the cIRcle Office if you have any questions.

General Guidelines

Consistently using a file naming convention is an essential component in the long-term access and preservation of digital records. File names should be both human- and machine-readable, meaning that the people and computer software interacting with cIRcle files are able to recognize, understand, and process the file names. The naming guidelines that follow are designed to provide files with concise yet descriptive names that help ensure content can be found, used, and maintained for as long as possible.

  • Use concise, descriptive, and unique file names.
    • File names of less than 50 characters are recommended.
  • Characters are limited to Roman alphabet (A-Z), numbers (0-9) and underscores (_).
  • Do not use blank spaces or periods.
  • Avoid using stop words where possible (a, an, the, if, but, so, for, etc.).


Tip: Avoid using diacritics, non-Roman, and special characters. These are not consistently supported across all platforms and processes, and can negatively impact how content is indexed, discovered, and/or preserved.

More information can be found from File Name Changes (Archivematica) and Iowa State University’s DataShare guide.

Improving support for multi-lingual works is a key motivator for cIRcle’s ongoing and active investigations into best practices for file naming conventions in repositories.

cIRcle strives to apply a consistent file naming convention. However, due to the varying current and historical submission streams and procedures undertaken in cIRcle, some variety in naming conventions may be found in the repository.

File Naming Conventions

cIRcle file names are generally comprised of the following components, which are formed according to the resource, and may thus vary in their order: Authorship; Title; Other identifying information; Date.

If there are other cIRcle entries with the same file name, additional identifiers to distinguish between file names may be included (e.g. fuller date, version, edition, etc.).


Individual(s) or an agency/organization can be captured as author:

  • For individual(s), use the last name followed by the first name initial only.
  • If there are multiple author(s), use the last name and first initial of the first author followed by “_et_al”.
  • Use capital letters for last name, first initial, and agency/organization name(s), separated using an underscore (_).


  • Include the course code and number following the author name(s), if present.

Example: Single Author (Individual)

Author: Paul Tsopméné
Title: Integral Calculus Workbook
Date: January 21, 2024

cIRcle file name: Tsopmene_P_Integral_calculus_workbook_2024.pdf

Example: Multiple Authors (Individuals)

Author: Vann Chau; Kenneth J. Poskitt; Deborah E. McFadden; Tim Bowen-Roberts; Anne Synnes; Rollin Brant; Michael A. Sargent; Wendy Soulikias; Steven P. Miller
Title: Effect of chorioamnionitis on brain development and injury in premature newborns
Date: 2021

cIRcle file name: Chau_V_et_al_Effect_chorioamnionitis_brain_2021.pdf

Example: Single Author (Agency/Organization)

Author: CleanStart BC
Title: May 2022 Social Impact Report
Date: 2022

cIRcle file name: CleanStart_May_social_impact_report_2022.pdf

Example: Single Author (Coursework)

Author: Lorenz Yeung
Title: Assessment of Barriers Contributing to Presentation of Breast Cancer Patients in Jamaica
Coursework: SURG 560 Year: 2020

cIRcle file name: Yeung_L_SURG560_Assessment_breast_cancer_Jamaica_2020.pdf

Example: Multiple Authors (Coursework)

Authors: Richie Chan; Daniel Chen; Lisa Chai; Wendy Chen
Title: 不能喝涼水 – Don’t drink cold water
Course code: ACAM 320B Year: 2021

cIRcle file name: Chan_R_et_al_ACAM320B_Dont_drink_cold_water_2021.mp3


If the title is brief, the full title can be listed (omit stop words). If the title is too long to limit the file name to 50 characters, use the first three or four significant words only.

  • Include the first two to four significant words of the title.
  • Capitalize only the first letter of the first word in the title.

Other Identifying Information

It may be helpful to include additional information about the resource to distinguish it, including but not limited to file type (e.g. audio, video), resource type (e.g. postprint, preprint), association/event, etc.

Single Author (Postprint article)

Authors: Eva Oberle; Megan Zeni; Fritha Munday; Mariana Brussoni
Title: Support Factors and Barriers for Outdoor Learning in Elementary Schools : A Systemic Perspective
Year: 2021

cIRcle file name: Oberle_E_et_al_Support_factors_barriers_Postprint_2021.pdf

Single Author (Lecture recording)

Author: Kevin Leyton-Brown
Title: Understanding artificial intelligence
Year: 2023

cIRcle file name: LeytonBrown_K_VIL_Understanding_AI_2023.mp4


Add the year of item creation.  In most cases, adding the year (YYYY) of item creation is sufficient.

Add a fuller date or descriptor where it is helpful to differentiate between other works with a repeat title, when a file has been revised, etc.).

Example: Fuller Date

Author: Jean-François Roof
Title: Practicum report : Fall 2011
Date: Fall 2011

cIRcle file name: Roof_JF_Practicum_report_Fall_2011.pdf

Example: Recurring Event with a Fuller Date

Author: President Stephen Toope
Title: 2007 Fall Congregation
Date: November 21, 2007

cIRcle file name: Toope_S_President_Fall_congregation_20071121.pdf