Posting Documents - Best Practices

**This page assumes you have already been trained on the basics of uploading documents to the Sociology website by the A&S team.  If you have not yet done this training with them, and are editing the Sociology site, please do.

First, Ask this question:
Does this document or form absolutely need to be a document of some kind - or can it be built as a regular web page?

If it can be built as a regular web page, instead of a PDF or a Word document, this is by far superior for accessibility reasons regarding screen readers.  It is also much easier than trying to make a document accessible for a screen reader.  Even forms can likely be built as a regular web page.  Contact Liz Collier for more assistance with this:

If it need to remain a PDF or Document of some kind:


It is state and federal mandate that public institutions must make their websites accessible for all users.  We are such an institution.   However, it is also a balance of time and effort against results.

Perfection is likely not going to be achieved, and we are a small department.  So do the best you can reasonably do.  We have an obligation to do the best that we can given our constraints, and we still need to keep our website moving forward, so strike a good balance, with your best judgement.

For instructions on writing accessible documents, go to this page:
Liz Collier has had specific training in this matter as well.  She may be able to assist.


Document Name Matters - Make It Generic!
This helps us from having outdated documents on the site.

Before posting, save the document as a new file, with a generic name, in the file location where we keep copies of the files with generic names (ask Liz Collier). 

Do not post documents that have names with dates in them etc. that would make them hard to update and replace at a later date.

If posting a new version of an already existing document:

  • First, go to the website, and find the existing document.
  • Find out how the document is already named in the site, you'll need that information.
  • Re-save the new version of the file you have been given to update with the Generic Name, in the saved file names area (ask Liz Collier for location).
  • Upload the new version of the file, but with the Generic Name (see explanation below), to the website, replacing the earlier version, in the same file folder within the file directory as the original version.

Posting a brand new document:

For instance, you are given or create a document that needs to be posted, named, FooBar_08-17-2017.pdf, just as an example. 

  • Re-save the file into the shared server area being kept with generically named documents, changing the name to a recognizable name, but without a date, perhaps Foobar.pdf, entirely removing the date. 
  • While editing, click on the "make it a link' icon, and a box comes up with the specifics of the link programming information.
  • To the right, there is a tiny file folder icon (looks like a box), click on that and the file server will pop up in a new window.
  • Pick the appropriate sub-folder to upload your file to, and upload your file.  If you need a new sub-folder, please contact Liz Collier to discuss.
  • Complete the rest of the progamming parameters in the box, and click save.  You have a new link, congratulations!

Why take the time to do this?

A web site does not think.  It will only do what you tell it to do.  So if you upload a document call FooBar_08-17-2017.pdf, and then you need to upload a new version later, say FooBar_10-25-2018.pdf, when you upload the 2nd document you end up with BOTH documents on the site.  This is bad for multiple reasons:

  • On the page you have replaced the old document with the new document, this is the ONLY page/link that will be fixed.
  • All the other links on other pages that go to the document will still be pointing to the old one FooBar_08-17-2107.pdf, and now all of sudden we have 2 versions of the file on the site, and different pages pointing to different files, one of which is outdated.
  • People can search our site with the Google search, and they might end up pulling up the old document, not the updated one, this is not good either.
  • With a file that is not generically named, to avoid this, you'd have to:
    • Track down each and every link on the site on any page and replace the document with the new one.
    • AND delete the old document in the files area itself or it could still be found with the Googl Search.
    • This is really painfully tedious, and often it's hard to find all the links - there is no tool that says this file is on these specific pages available to us in this Drupal site.

But if we remember to ALWAYS use a generically named document, e.g., FooBar.pdf, the newly named generic document in our example, then:

  • Go to the link you want to update with the new file, generically named, just like the old file, so also named "FooBar.pdf" per the example we've been using here.
  • Update that link, but updating the new file, and recording over the old version of the file, with a file of the same name.
  • Effectively, you have then updated the file for the entire site, all at once!  And you don't have to find additoinal links to fix them.
  • This also effectively deletes old version, making them unvailable to a Google search.