To Name or Rename a Drawing, That is the Question
A few months ago, I recall a dialog thread on the issue of renaming scanned images. The question was should you rename your image files? My initial response is “why would you do that?” In this case, it was assumed the renaming was to “label” the file to make it easier to find using Windows Explorer. There were over 80 responses to this conversation justifying both positions. My opinion is while this makes sense at some level. I must question the value of renaming files from an index verses the added cost. Is it worth it?
If you are renaming the file based on the “indexed information, you will need to rename the file “after” you have index the document. This is an added step in the process. In this workflow, you must extract the renaming content from the index. It appears that renaming is the poor man’s document management with Windows Explorer. Most Content Management applications import electronic files and create a unique file name. This way there is always the original file and then there are the modified files. Renaming is a cost that loses justification in this environment.
I ask the question “if you are indexing your drawings, why would you look at the image file name and not the results of a query from your search engine tool?” For those who use Windows Explorer as your search engine, renaming images would make sense, however a true document management system will import the images and rename them a unique file name to avoid overwriting original files. Renaming efforts would be voided when importing. True Document Management systems also support the “check-in/check-out” and revision tracking of modified records.
Since 20 % of our customers want their files renamed, our team created a program to rename files and identify duplicates in the renaming process. The rename files would be ***DUP1.TIF, ***DUP2.TIF and so on.
There can be an unrealized benefit in renaming as many of us don’t actually know we have duplicate drawings. We know they are there but don’t have the specifics and then there is the issue just because you have a duplicate file doesn’t mean the file is actually a duplicate. In large format scanning projects, you can have duplicate files but with different mark up information (3 sheets of paper of the same drawing with three different mark ups).
This means you could have multiple files that appear to be the same but because the mark up was done on three different versions of the paper files, they are technically not a duplicate.
A tool I have used for many years to compare drawings is Oracle’s viewer AutoVue Professional. There is a feature called “compare” which allows you to lay one image on top of another. This tool is really oriented to CAD files but still works in a raster world.
Any way you look at it, you need unique identifiers for image file names.