When you create a new folder or file on the O: drive or in another network location you are basically adding numbers and letters onto an already existing address that points to the server which is hosting the data.  This address has a maximum length of 244-256 characters depending on where it is located.  If the location on the server you are starting from is \\seraph\Communities\Staff\academic and information services\it-services\public for example, you have already used up 79 characters of that limit.  When you start to nest folders within subfolders, and those folders have further subfolders, you can run into problems quite quickly. 

The filename itself also counts as part of the character limit.  When you have a file that is very deeply nested within a folder structure, opening it with most programs may generate an error telling you the filename is too long, or you may have issues saving the file or copying it.  This filename/path limit may also cause documents to become unstable over time.

The solution for this is to shorten the path/filename where possible and to create folders at an earlier point in the folder structure.  If you think of the folder structure as a tree, you are better off creating more main branches closer to the trunk that can support their weight properly than to create longer thinner branches that stretch very far and are prone to breaking off. 

For example if you are creating a folder for a new department called Center for Technological Studies, you are better off naming it CTS instead.  This is one area where acronyms are actually beneficial!  You can change existing folder structures this way to fix any current issues you may have, but you just have to keep in mind that any shortcuts or links you have mapped or have emailed will no longer work and they will need to be re-sent. 

The easier solution is to create a new folder closer to the main departmental folder and move the files there and just keep the 256 char limit in mind when expanding in the future.