Building the file title

File titles should always be built in a hierarchical order from the broadest term to the narrowest term and free-text.

Steps 1–5 below describe how to create a file title using the File Classification System.

Examples are based on areas using two separate fields in their records database for recording their file titles. Where areas have only one field, all information needs to be entered into the one field.

Two examples will be used in each step:

  • Example A: a file dealing with developing and managing a short course
  • Example B: a file for membership records of the Alumni Committee.

Step 1: Select a keyword

Select a keyword from the File Classification System keyword list. The chosen keyword must relate to the broadest concept of the subject matter or function the file is to support.

In example A
The file would be classified under the 'COURSES' keyword, as the file relates to the development and management of a short course.

Structured title field Free text field
COURSES

In example B
The file would be classified under the 'COMMITTEES' keyword, as the file relates to supporting a committee and its membership, as opposed to the functional work of Alumni. Other Alumni files may use the 'ALUMNI' keyword

Structured title field Free text field
COMMITTEES

Step 2: Select a 1st descriptor

Select the most appropriate 1st descriptor under your chosen keyword.

If your 1st descriptor is a '[specify …]' descriptor or no 1st descriptors apply, the remainder of your file title will be entered into the free-text field.

In example A
the 1st descriptor is 'SHORT' as the file is dealing with short courses.

Structured title field Free text field
COURSES — SHORT

In example B
Descriptor is '[specify by name of committee]'. The name of the committee should be entered at this point. It will need to be entered manually in the free-text field.

Structured title field Free text field
COMMITTEES — ALUMNI COMMITTEE —

Step 3: Select a 2nd descriptor

Select an appropriate 2nd descriptor from those listed in the 2nd descriptor column.

If your 2nd descriptor is a '[specify …]' descriptor or no 2nd descriptors apply, the remainder of your file title will be entered into the free-text field.

In example A
2nd Descriptors are listed as 'Block Release', 'Summer Schools', '[specify by course]', and 'Winter School'.

Unless you have a lot of information pertaining to the course for different semesters and want individual files, it may be preferable to have one file for the course. [specify by course] would be the preferred descriptor in this case.

The name of the short course should be entered at this point. It will need to be entered manually in the free-text field.

Structured title field Free text field
COURSES — SHORT RECORDKEEPING PRINCIPLES

In example B
2nd descriptors are list as 'Agenda', 'Membership', 'Minutes', or 'Terms of Reference'. As the file is a file dealing with membership, the term 'Membership' would be the preferred can be chosen from the 2nd descriptor list..

Structured title field Free text field
COMMITTEES — ALUMNI COMMITTEE — MEMBERSHIP

Step 4: Select a 3rd descriptor

Select an appropriate 3rd descriptor from those listed in the 3rd descriptor column.

If your 3rd descriptor is a '[specify …]' descriptor or no 3rd descriptors apply, the remainder of your file title will be entered into the free-text field.

In example A
The 3rd descriptor is '[specify by client]'.

If there is no client, this will not apply. However, if the short course is being run for an external party, you should note the client name in the title. In this case, it is assumed the course is being run internally, so no client name will be required.

In example B
The 3rd descriptor is '[specify by year(s)]'. The year of the file should be entered here.

If the file will run over two years, both years should be included. If the file is to run longer, no year should be included in the title. In these cases, the 'Date Created' and 'Date Closed' fields can provide this detail. For example B, it is assumed that this file will run from 2008 to 2009.

Structured title field Free text field
COMMITTEES — ALUMNI COMMITTEE — MEMBERSHIP — 2008 to 2009

Step 5: Free text

All files require some free-text. In some cases the descriptors will be entered into the free text field where specific details are requested (for example, names and dates). In other cases, specific details can be added to explain to nature of the tile, as long as file titles are not too long and are consistent.

Tips for creating a successful file title

Keep your file titles short and succinct. A very long title will cause confusion.

  • Do not use self-styled abbreviations. The title may make sense now to you, but in several years time the meaning may be lost. Stick to approved abbreviations. If you want to use an abbreviation, put the name in full first.
  • Do not truncate words, such as using 'mtng' for 'meeting'. This will cause problems when searching on terms.
  • Be consistent. Refer to other file titles already created so all titles are structured the same.
  • Use a 'space–space' between keywords and descriptors to make reading the title easier.
  • Every file title MUST have a keyword. However, if the descriptors are not adequate for your file title, you may go directly to free text, or a lower-level descriptor.

    For example, in the case of a committee file, the committee may not need a separate file for Agenda, Minutes, Membership and Terms of Reference. In this case, the committee name and year would be sufficient.

  • If unsure about any aspect of creating a file title, contact your Records Advisor.

File Classification System index

The UTS File Classification System has an index. If you can't find the keyword you are looking for, try looking for a more specific term in the index. It may direct you to the appropriate keyword. Sometimes it is necessary to think of other terms that mean the same thing to find what you are looking for, as not everyone uses the same terminology.

Making changes to the File Classification System

The UTS File Classification System is largely based on the University's functions and activities rather than its structure. It is not designed for each faculty or unit to have their own exclusive keyword, although functions do mirror unit names in some instances. Functions and activities can cross over between various areas. It is expected that each area should use the whole File Classification System and not limit themselves to only one portion of it

Feedback mechanisms

The UTS File Classification System is a living document, and as such, regular revisions and additions are necessary to maintain its integrity. It is important that University Records be informed immediately of any required changes to ensure that the File Classification System remains a relevant tool for all users.

If you have a change or addition to the File Classification System, it can be lodged using a Request Change to the File Classification System form (52kb .pdf). Each change will be assessed on its merits.

Definitions

Approved abbreviations

Abbreviations frequently used throughout UTS with meanings commonly known by no less than 70 per cent of staff. University Records must approve these abbreviations (see Abbreviations).

Broad term (BT)

The broadest term, otherwise known as the keyword, or any term in front of another term in a title.

Classification

The process of devising and applying schemes based on the business activities which generate records, whereby they are categorised in systematic and consistent ways to facilitate their capture, retrieval, maintenance and disposal. Classification includes determining document or file naming conventions, user permissions and security restrictions on records.

Indexing

The process of establishing and applying terms or codes to records, to be used to retrieve them and to search for and analyse information in records across classifications or categories.

File Classification System

A records management tool used to create file titles. It aims to cover terms of a functional nature in order to provide a comprehensive controlled vocabulary over paper and electronic records and recordkeeping systems. Originally called Functional Keyword Thesaurus.

Free-text

Free-text is the part of the file title that holds the [specify …] descriptor terms which require specific names or details to be entered, or where the information is user defined (i.e. not part of the File Classification System).

Narrow term (NT)

A narrower term, otherwise known as a descriptor. Used for any term after another term in a title.

Registration

The act of giving a record a unique identity in the recordkeeping system.

Scope note

A paragraph describing what a keyword means and defining its use within a file title

Acknowledgments

The University of Technology, Sydney gratefully acknowledges the use, in part, of the structure, descriptions, scope notes and relationships contained within the State Records Authority of NSW's Keyword AAA (a thesaurus of administrative terms), and General Disposal Authorities.