ARCHIVED: Best practices for Box at IU

This content has been archived, and is no longer maintained by Indiana University. Information here may no longer be accurate, and links may no longer be available or reliable.

UITS recommends following these best practices for effective use of ARCHIVED: Box at IU.

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About institutional data


IU's Box cloud storage service was retired on May 10, 2021. For information about cloud storage options available at IU, see Storage at IU.

Be sure to use your Box account appropriately; see ARCHIVED: Types of data appropriate for IU Box accounts.

To ensure that institutional data stays with the university as positions change, UITS recommends that departments use ARCHIVED: Organizational and group Box accounts.

Name folders clearly

Since you may end up with many collaboration folders, establishing a naming convention with your collaborators will help differentiate and organize your folders. For example, you might prefix the folder name with the name of the submitting organization:

  • For a class, use the class code, for example, "A511 Jones Case Assignment", "A511 Midterm Prep".
  • For work, use a departmental or group abbreviation, for example, "CHEM Committee Assignments", "CHEM Lab Schedules".

If you may be adding any collaborators to sub-folders, it's best to continue your naming convention in all the sub-folders as well, since those collaborators will not see the parent folders in their view of Box.

Folder and file names have a 255 character maximum.

Manage content

Make use of Box's features for managing content:

  • Saving bookmarks: You can save any URL as a bookmark within your Box account; this can be a handy way to add links to useful external resources related to a particular folder. See Creating Bookmarks.
  • Tagging content: To make it easier to sort or filter your Box content, you can assign tags to your files and folders. Your tags are visible to collaborators on the files and folders. See Tagging Items in Box.

Also, see Managing Files and Folders.

Collaboration and shared links

Box is a powerful collaboration platform, and has many features to simplify sharing and working with others. Shared links are used primarily for distributing content; when others will be working with the content, invite them as collaborators instead. When collaborating with others, be mindful of the settings you use for folders and files. For details, see ARCHIVED: Share and collaborate on files with Box.

The following are some additional tips related to shared links and collaboration.

UITS recommends the following best practices for shared links in Box:

  • Unless there is a strong need to customize, use the default URL generated by Box (with a random numeric string) for your shared link, rather than using the Custom URL feature.

    Customized Box shared links (those beginning with that are set to open access (People with the link) and are not password protected are vulnerable to being guessed by computer algorithms.

  • Regardless of whether it is a default or custom shared link, if you share any data that should not be public and need to set the access level to People with the link, set a password on your link.
  • Whenever you create a shared link of any kind, consider how long the link will be necessary. If you can determine a time limit, set an expiration date to minimize future concerns about data exposure.

For information on how to access and set these controls, see:

Manage collaboration

When creating and accepting collaborations, it is important to consider how long the collaboration will last and how long you will need access to the files. If you are the owner of the collaboration folder, have a plan for if and when the collaboration will end and how you will inform your collaborators of that. Collaborations may end when you choose to end them, or when you leave the university and your Box at IU account is disabled.

For departmental collaborations that involve university data, UITS recommends the use of ARCHIVED: organizational and group Box accounts. By managing departmental collaboration within an organizational or group Box account, university data will stay within the department even as positions within the department change.

Lock files with collaborators

While working on a file in a collaborative space on Box, you may wish to lock the file to prevent out-of-date files or conflicting versions. This is most useful when you are editing a file in its native application (that is, on your local computer). However, when using ARCHIVED: Box for Office Online or Box Notes, locking is unnecessary, since multiple collaborators can edit concurrently.

You can choose whether collaborators can download a locked file. If you wish, set an expiration time for the file to automatically become unlocked, which can be helpful in cases where you forget to unlock the file when you are finished with it. Additionally, editors on the folder can unlock files that have been locked by other collaborators.

Use Box Notes

Box Notes is Box's online, collaborative word processor. Features of Box Notes include:

  • Sharing and collaborating: You can generate a link to allow others to view your Box Note, or you can invite them to edit it, even if they are not collaborators in the folder containing the Box Note. For details, see Sharing Box Notes.
  • Real-time collaboration: Up to 20 collaborators can edit a Box Note at the same time. When this happens, all updates are seen by other collaborators on the Box Note in real time.
  • Text editing: Box Notes offers some lightweight text editing features, such as text size, color, emphasis (bold, italic, or underline), alignment, and bulleted or numbered lists.
  • Annotations: Annotate sections of text in a Box Note by highlighting the text and clicking the Add Annotation icon that appears. Type your annotation, and click Post. The annotated text will be highlighted in yellow. To view the comment, hover over the annotated text with your mouse. There can be multiple annotations on a single string of selected text.
  • Hyperlinks: Add hyperlinks to text in a Box Note by highlighting the text and clicking the chain link icon that appears. Enter the hyperlink and press Enter. A collaborator can click the linked text to be taken to the appropriate web page.

For current issues with Box Notes, see ARCHIVED: Known Issues with Box.

This is document bdsv in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2021-02-26 10:56:04.