Onison File Naming Conventions

ImageDirector - File Naming Conventions


The purpose of this article is to address concerns relating to file naming conventions in Digital Asset Management (DAM) Systems. With the ImageDirector Digital Asset Management System, files are organized through categorization and accessible metadata, including the data that has originally been embedded in the source file. File naming conventions add a level of identifiability when files are used outside of ImageDirector.

Take a look of these file names:

  • DSCN0619.jpg
  • C-1956.jpg
  • IMG0006.png
  • 819.eps

They convey very little information about the images within and thus make them difficult to categorize.

Now, let’s compare with these examples:

  • 150329_ onison_YVR_boardmeeting_BW.jpg
  • 123456_009_board_onison.eps
  • 0001_projectname_onison.pdf

It demonstrates the standard practice naming convention used by ONISON and many of its clients. It allows for ready identification of the source and content of a file even if it is utilised outside of a DAM System.

File name convention contains several components

Date Stamp - Date of when the photograph was taken in the format of YY-MM-DD It is in the most significant position in order for file sorting algorithms to place them in chronological order in most file managers.

Product Stamp - Product number and variations in the Syntax of 123456_009

Company Stamp - Name of the owner of the image

Place Stamp - Location of where the photograph was taken

Description - Accurate and short description of the main focus to the image, for example product name

BW Stamp - Optional component to state that the image is in greyscale

File Extension - Standard file type extension utilized by many operating systems and applications


With a structured naming convention, it is possible to extract information without looking at the file contents, making it easier for machinery and logic to quickly categorize the files. Image dimensions are not included in the filename since the image can be resized on demand.

File naming conventions are in particular important where further automatisation could be envisioned in the future. For example, automatic catalog production without a file naming standard can become cumbersome, if not impossible. Even though the exact file name may not be known, they can still be matched with a smart file naming convention. 

In addition

These technical specifications are put in place to improve compatibility:

  • File name must be no longer than 64 characters
  • Only letters, numbers, dashes (-), and underscores (_) are used
  • Lowercase letters must be used for file extensions (Some web applications have compatibility problems with uppercase extensions)
  • Do not use high-ASCII characters
  • Make sure that files from Mac Systems also use appropriate file extensions

A file naming convention is necessary, where image files are being used to merge with a metadata import. The information contained within the file name aids the system to apply the correct data.


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