Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Choosing a proper noun for a Project Name

So, you've got a great idea for a project / research group / lab / product. It's going to change your field and soon, everyone will know your name. But, what is your name?

Some people are tempted to choose a name or a acronym that spells out a word in the dictionary. Maybe something that evokes a characteristic they want their project to embody. Maybe you decide to call your new lab "TIGER" because you are developing orange and black striped organisms.

Cute.

But before you choose the name, consider the downsides of this decision. Until you are more famous than tigers, it will be almost impossible to track yourself on the web. There will already be thousands of people out there using your name as a word, rather than to refer to your activities. Someone who loves Tigers will beat you to the Twitter username "Tiger". The Detroit Tigers will always rank higher than you on Google. Many of your visitors will leave the moment they realize they aren't going to find any photos of Tigers on your site. And your would-be visitors will have to try strange combinations of of search words just to find you.

Using a combination of upper case and lower case letters to write your name often does not help. Many search functions ignore capitalization so your search for "TiGeR" will return the same results as "TIGER" or "tiger".

So when choosing a name, maybe it would be better if you went with something a bit more obscure, like "Omeka".

3 comments:

PhDinHistory said...

Good thoughts for now. But we will have to face the reality that there will be a limit to most people's ability to remember more than a handful of tools or web sites by name. How many times have we heard someone say that they recognize people's faces but forget their names? What we need to do is keep working toward semantic search that will recognize the idea or concept that people are searching for.

Adam Crymble said...

I couldn't agree more and it's great that people like you are researching to that end. But for now, this post can stand as a warning against potential pitfalls that may not be apparent to would-be namers.

aliya seen said...

There will already be thousands of people out there using your name as a word, rather than to refer to your activities. summarizer tool