[Tutor] Using contents of a document to change file names

Josep M. Fontana josep.m.fontana at gmail.com
Sat Oct 2 17:56:53 CEST 2010


This is my first posting to this list. Perhaps this has a very easy answer
but before deciding to post this message I consulted a bunch of Python
manuals and on-line reference documents to no avail. I would be very
grateful if someone could lend me a hand with this.

Here's the problem I want to solve. I have a lot of files with the following
name structure:


These are different text documents that I want to process for an NLP project
I'm starting. Each one of the texts belongs to a different century and it is
important to be able to include the information about the century in the
name of the file as well as inside the text.

Then I have another text file containing information about the century each
one of the texts was written. This document has the following structure:

A-01, 1278
A-02, 1501
N-09, 1384

What I would like to do is to write a little script that would do the

. Read each row of the text containing information about the centuries each
one of the texts was written
. Change the name of the file whose name starts with the code in the first
column in the following way

        A-01-namex.txt --> A-01-namex_13-2.txt

    Where 13-1 means: 13th 2nd half. Obviously this information would com
from the second column in the text: 1278 (the first two digits + 1 =
century; if the 3rd and 4th digits > 50, then 2; if < 50 then     1)

Then in the same script or in a new one, I would need to open each one of
the texts and add information about the century they were written on the
first line preceded by some symbol (e.g @13-2)

I've found a lot of information about changing file names (so I know that I
should be importing the os module), but none of the examples that were cited
involved getting the information for the file changing operation from the
contents of a document.

As you can imagine, I'm pretty green in Python programming and I was hoping
the learn by doing method would work.  I need to get on with this project,
though, and I'm kind of stuck. Any help you guys can give me will be very

Josep M.
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