Creative names for personal files in an interactive computing environment

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The names with which people refer to their personal computer files in an interactive computing environment were analyzed as a case study of purposeful creative naming behavior. Staff members at a research laboratory were asked to annotate a listing of their filenames by appending descriptive exegeses. Overwhelmingly, the very form of the filenames organized them into structured paradigms, coextending with clusterings of the files by conceptual and functional content (as revealed by examination of the rendered descriptive exegeses). The pervasive existance of such paradigmatic structure in spontaneously created names has implications both for traditional and current philosophical analyses of names (where non-paradigmatic names, such as Aristotle have been taken to be typical) and, more specifically, for the potential utility and design of filenaming facilities in computing systems. Part of speech and abbreviation strategies were also analyzed and compared with prior laboratory research. They were shown to correlate with filetype classification, indicating this as a further relevant parameter for the design of filename facilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-438
Number of pages34
JournalInternational Journal of Man-Machine Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1982

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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