General Question

Mtl_zack's avatar

Why are the names of PDFs always random letters and numbers or "full text"?

Asked by Mtl_zack (6730 points ) August 5th, 2010

Whenever I’m working on a research project or essay and I go to JSTOR or any other database of articles and I download the PDF the name of the file is always a series of undecipherable letters and numbers or just “full text” It makes it very hard to identify which paper to open and read later.

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4 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

That’s just how whoever created the file named them. It’s in no way special to PDFs. Simply rename it as soon as you download it – or, if you like, rename it after you’ve clicked “save”.

jrpowell's avatar

Most likely they assign it a random name when they store it to avoid any naming conflict. Things can get messed easily with different languages and Unicode and spaces and special characters and duplicates and so on. It is easiest to just generate a known good name for the file.

And remember that something like www.whatever.edu/fu@gly///lulZ}{_#d>>punch.pdf is going to break if it needs to be a URL to download the file.

lilikoi's avatar

They probably have some kind of system in place that names it something illogical so that people cruising the internet searching specifically for free access to the paper cannot find it.

bea2345's avatar

Is it possible that these file names are computer generated? (both to avoid naming conflicts and to make them hard to find).

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