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8. Details of Individual Metadata Elements

8.28 File Name




Identifying Attributes




File Name

Defined by

Government of Canada Records Management Metadata Standard - fileName

Element URI

[To be actioned by Treasury Board of Canada, Secretariat before publication]

Definitional Attributes


The name, derived from a classification scheme / file plan, of the file.


To associate the record or file to the classification scheme / file plan which supports the functions and activities of the business/program area.

To ensure that records and files are linked to the classification scheme / file plan in a consistent manner over time.

To assist in the retrieval of all records and files relating to a particular function or activity.

A mechanism that allows for the application of retention requirements and disposition actions for records and files.


"Classification of business activities acts as a powerful tool to assist the conduct of business and in many of the processes involved in the management of records including

a) providing linkages between individual records which accumulate to provide a continuous record of activity,
b) ensuring records are named in a consistent manner over time,
c) assisting in the retrieval of all records relating to a particular function or activity,
d) determining security protection and access appropriate for sets of records,
e) allocating user permissions for access to, or action on, particular groups of records,
f) distributing responsibility for management of particular sets of records,
g) distributing records for action, and
h) determining appropriate retention periods and disposition actions for records." ISO International Standard 15489-1, s. 9.5.1

"A useable record is one that can be located, retrieved, presented and interpreted. It should be capable of subsequent presentation as directly connected to the business activity or transaction that produced it. The contextual linkages of records should carry the information needed for an understanding of the transactions that created and used them. It should be possible to identify a record within the context of broader business activities and functions." ISO International Standard 15489-1, s. 7.2.5

"A records system should b) organize the records in a way that reflects the business processes of the records' creator, " ISO International Standard 15489-1, s. 8.2.2

"Business or personal actions should be captured as records and linked with metadata which characterize their specific business context when they commit an organization or individual to action, render an organization or individual accountable, or document an action, a decision or decision-making process." ISO International Standard 15489-1, s. 9.1

"Metadata for accessibility should do the following
f) facilitate the classification of business functions, activities and transactions
g) facilitate the classification of records." ISO Technical Specification 23081-1, s. and s. 9.6.1

Value Domain

Enumerated strings of text representing file names.

Datatype Name



Applicable at record level or file level. Must be applicable for at least one level; may be applicable at both levels.


Mandatory at record level or mandatory at file level. Must be mandatory for at least one level; may be mandatory at both levels.

Relational Attributes

Encoding Scheme

Institution-specific approved corporate classification scheme / file plan




File Code

Conditions of Application - Record


Text, based on encoding scheme.


Pre Record Declared Locked

Post Record Declared Locked


Yes, by authorized official only.


Not repeatable

Conditions of Application - File


Text, based on encoding scheme.


Yes, by authorized official only.


Not repeatable

Comments and Guidance

a) Explanation of Definition/Usage

The File Name element is used to distinguish one file from another. It provides descriptive information which can be used to enhance the understanding of a File Code.

The file name is not connected directly to a record, but is connected indirectly through the element File Code.

This element should not be confused with the element Title which is the name given to a record. It also should not be confused with the element Subject, which uses an enumerated value to describe the content of the record.

b) Best Practices

Recommended best practice is to select a value from an institution-specific approved corporate classification scheme / file plan.

In a function-based classification scheme / file plan, the value of File Name and the value of File Code may be the same.

The value of File Name may be concatenated with the value of File Code to better clarify the contents of the file.

This element is generally applied at the file level, with the records in the file inheriting the value. It can, however, be applied at the record level. It must be applied, if applicable, to at least the file or record level and may be applied, if applicable, at both. Some institutions base their retention and disposition processing at the record level rather than the file level.

Once the record is locked the value for this element may be modified by an authorized official only in cases when the record must be moved to another area of the classification scheme / file plan. Similarly, changes may have to be made to names of the files themselves to accommodate changes in the classification scheme / file plan.

c) Obligation

This element is a fundamental requirement for records management and is mandatory.

d) Default Values/Auto-populate

The value for File Name may be auto-populated once the value for File Code has been selected.

e) Linkages

This element is linked only to the File Code because it is through the File Code that File Name is indirectly linked to many other elements.

f) Examples

  1. "Softwood Lumber - 2004/05"

  2. "Financial Management - Budgets - 2002/03"

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