DHD Multimedia Gallery: How Gallery Exhibits are Named

This Gallery and its content are meant to be readily accessible via Internet search engines, and so exhibits have to have good descriptive names to make them easy to locate with such engines. To make searching through the Gallery itself easy, the naming scheme should be consistent.

To that end, names of exhibits in the Gallery tend to be quite long and have a fixed structure:

some-descriptive-words-some-optional-attributes-number-author.extension

When Gallery exhibits are given names, the components on those names must be right and in the right order else the system will not be able to file the exhibits where they can be found. Changing the name of an exhibit after it has been put up is slow, expensive, and has other unfortunate consequences (people may already have voted for the exhibit, search engines may send people to the now-missing exhibit), so it is important to try to get the name right first time.

The very basic rule is that the more descriptive the name the better, and more important or significant words should be first.

Here are the naming rules a little more formally:

  1. All words in a Gallery exhibit name are separated by hyphens (``-''); no space or other punctuation is allowed except the dot (``.'') immediately before the file extension. Names are valid URLs, UNIX and Windows file names.
  2. ``some-descriptive-words'': all exhibit names in the Gallery start with descriptive words that search engines can match. The most important words, ie those that would best describe the exhibit if all the rest were thrown away, are towards the left. Where possible, the descriptive text is a readable English sentence fragment. For example, in a picture of two cats playing with a slightly interesting painting in the background, the image name might start with the words ``cats playing in front of picture'', and thus, because words are separated by hyphens, the name could start ``cats-playing-in-front-of-painting''. This naming convention helps to ensure that exhibits for similar subjects can appear close together in the Gallery. All exhibit names must have some descriptive words.
  3. ``some-optional-attributes'': these are words that can be added to the exhibit name (after the descriptive words) to indicate any simple processing that was done to an exhibit to derive it from an original also in the Gallery. Some common attributes words are:
    bg (for images meant as Web-page backgrounds/backdrops) tweaked (usually used for general image enhancement such as constrast adjustment and sharpening) retouched posterised equalised negative closeup rescan rotated cropped
    If, for example, we stored a version of the cats image above which we had cropped and tweaked the contrast of, we might store it with a name starting ``cats-playing-in-front-of-painting-cropped-tweaked''. In this case Gallery would know that thie images were strongly related and might not show thumbnails for both of them. Not all exhibit names have attribute words.
  4. ``number'': if many exhibits cover small variations on the same subject matter, they can be given the same descriptive words and can be numbered in sequence with small positive integers. If no number is supplied then the item will be assumed to be number `0' (zero). Exhibits will be sorted first on descriptive words and then on number. If we took a second picture of the cats playing, its name might start ``cats-playing-in-front-of-painting-2''. To avoid confusion, avoid using a number (eg a year) as the last word of the descriptive text. Not all exhibit names have a number.
  5. author: the (upper-case) initials of the author (the creator of the exhibit) appear just before the dot (``.''), and must always be present. These must be the exact initials from the terms and conditions document. All exhibit names must have the author's initials.
  6. extension: the (lower-case) file extension (immediately after the dot (``.'')) identifies the file-type of the exhibit. Common ones are:
    jpg (for JPEG photos) gif (for GIF icons and posterised images)
    This must be one of the formats recognised by the Gallery and must be lower-case. All exhibit names must have a correct file extension.

It is useful to be consistent with what is already in the Gallery, so that when it is not clear exactly how to name something, follow what has gone before and then hopefully exhibits that are similar will be found close together by a visitor.

All exhibit names are pure ASCII (no accents), and will almost always be the English names and descriptions of exhibits. Where accented foreign words are used they will have to be rendered without accents (eg German `' can be rendered as `oe' and most acute and grave accents can just be dropped).

The descriptive text for exhibits featuring places and sights has some special conventions. For such items the first descriptive word is the geographical region of the image, which might be the name of the country and will often also be the current (English) name of the political state that covers the geographical area. So, for example, a picture of somewhere in Paris should have ``France'' as its first word. However, it important to follow existing Gallery conventions, and so note that a picture of somewhere in London would have as its first word ``England'' rather than ``UK'' and pictures of Hawaii start ``Hawaii'' rather than ``US'' since they are not within the area of the continental US. The second and subsequent descriptive words refer to successively smaller areas, again following any existing conventions in the Gallery, so a JPEG picture of a pub in Norbiton taken by DHD might be named ``England-London-Norbiton-The-Norbiton-Dragon-1-DHD.jpg'', for example.

When a place name is embedded in other exhibit names then the word order can be reversed if that makes for more readable text, eg a picture of a strange duck seen at Regent's Park might be named ``duck-strange-in-Boating-Lake-at-Regents-Park-London-England-2-DHD.jpg''.

Note that the easiest way to deal with apostrophes in Anglicised place names is to delete them, eg `Regent's Park' becomes ``Regents-Park'' in an exhibit name, but for other languages the best approach will have to be deduced in each case.

Damon


Site content copyright Damon Hart-Davis 1996-2009 unless otherwise stated.