There are many types of README files. What I'm talking about here is a README file to help you remember how you organized your folders and files on your computer, intranet, etc. TIP: Match your folder structure to your email folder structure so you do not have to think about two different folder naming schemes.
If you are a student taking classes for 4+ years that equals more than 30 classes, each with their own assignments and projects. You may want to refer back to the project or a report from a former class in your major. Having the organization of your folder and file naming conventions will help you locate the specific report.
If you are a researcher, then you are probably working on more than one project with multiple grants, teaching classes and serving on committees. Once the projects have been closed out or papers submitted for publication you will need to deposit the data, code and documentation into a data repository. The repository will also be asking for a README file. That README file will include a listing of all the files to be submitted to the repository along with pertinent information. Creating a README file for describing your file organization and naming conventions at the beginning of each project will save you time later.
Depending on how many files you have and for how many years you are going to maintain these files, you can create a README file for your directory or for each folder created within your directory.
A README file describing both the folders and files on your computer/intranet should contain:
A README file describing the files within each folder on your computer/intranet should contain: