At work, I'm in charge of maintaining the organization of a whole lot of varied data on a standard file-system. Part of this is coming up with sensible classification (by similarity, need, read/write access, etc), but the bigger part is actually documenting it: what documents/files/media should go where, what should not be in this directory, "for something slightly different, see ../../other-dir", etc.
At the moment, I've documented this using a plaintext file
readme in every directory I want to document. If someone is unsure what's meant to be in any directory, they read that file.
This works alright, but it seems odd that I have this primitive custom solution to a problem that any maintainer of a non-trivial directory structure must experience. Every company I've known of, for example, has some kind of shared file-system where agreed terminology for categorization is important. In my experience, people just have to learn what's what by trial-and-error and experimentation.
So allow me to propose a better solution, and hopefully you can tell me if it exists. Any directory on any filesystem can have a hidden plaintext file named
.readme. Its contents are descriptive human language. It uses some markup like Markdown, with little more than bold, italic, and (relative) hyperlinks to other directories. Now a suitably-enabled file browser will check for a file named
.readme whenever it displays a directory. If it exists, its contents are parsed and displayed in an unobtrusive pane near the directory-path widget. Any links therein can be clicked, and the user will be taken to the target directory of that link.
I think that the effort of implementing such a standard would pay back many times over in usability gains. We would have, say, plugins for Nautilus, Konqueror, etc.. It could be used to display directory information in the standard file lists served by webservers. And so on.
So, question: does such a thing exist? If not, why not? Do people think it's a worthwhile idea?