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> Previous discussions on this list have warned _strongly_ against trying
> to make document identification numbers somehow "meaningful".
I totally agree, having been involved with documents that had "meaningful"
numbers. Here are some further ideas:
- There is something to be said for a system that uses long
numbers that are self-verifying. For instance, the digits might
be constrained to sum to a number ending in 4, or digits be required
to alternate between even and odd.
- Letter prefixes, if used, should not use letters such as O, I
and L that can be mistaken for numbers.
- If a meaningful number is to be used, it should be of a separate "series"
number rather than the document's control number. For instance,
CB274581067, Recipies for Poison Ivy, Book 6 of our Much Needed Gap Series.
The generation and subsequent control of part numbers is an important
business function, and needs to be thought out carefully. Many businesses
already have this function in place, but some of them do it with meaningful
numbers. An uphill battle may be needed, and it might be a good idea to
enlist the services of the company's comptroller, accountant, or information
technology manager. A new numbering scheme may require a major change to
the way of doing business, and often the best way is to attach a new set
of numbers to everything for instance, parts JKK5567, JKJ5567, and IKK5567
become WW27430729-JKK5567, WW27438321-JKJ5567, and so on, in which the WW
set of numbers bear no particular meaning.
The maintenance of the catalog for part numbers should be a particular job,
assigned to a particular person or group in a bookkeeping-type department,
and should not be the province of a writer, artist, programmer or marketing
perison if at all possible. That department should be able to handle five
particular operations for part numbers:
(1) Generate a new number, for which a description has been supplied.
(2) Return the catalogue information for an existing number.
(3) Modify the catalogue information for an existing number.
(4) Retire a number. (Retire, not delete. Requires careful thought.)
(5) Give the number or set of numbers matching a description.
They should not be able to add a specified number to the catalog.
Isn't all this stuff covered in textbooks on library science, accounting,
databases, biological taxonomy, and similar subjects?
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