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Alphabetic Filing Rules Paper

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Alphabetic Filing Rules
Simple Personal Names:
When Filing simple personal names, divide the name into the following indexing units.
Unit 1 Last name
Unit 2 First name
Unit 3 Middle name or initial
After determining indexing units, alphabetize the names according to unit 1. If you have
two unit 1s that are exactly alike, unit 2 determines which is filed first. If units 1 and 2
are alike, alphabetize according to unit 2.
Individual letters are considered as indexing units. The period following the initial is ignored.
Index using abbreviation
File Nothing Before Something
File the initial (ex. L) before the full name (ex. Libby) with same last names
With similar names (ex. France/Frances) file the blank space (nothing, ex. France) before
the s (ex. Frances)
Identical names
If people have identical last, first, and middle names, then the city, state, street name, and
street address are used to determine filing order
Seniority Titles
Seniority titles are used as the last indexing unit in a name. Seniority titles include Junior,
Senior, Jr., Sr., II, and III. Companies differ on spelling in full or abbreviating Jr. and Sr.
Always cross-reference if necessary.
Business Names
Index names of businesses according to how the names are written on the letterhead.
(However, if the company name contains a person’s first and last name, some
organizations use the person’s last name as the first indexing unit and the first name as
the second indexing unit.)
If a company name contains single letters, index each letter as a separate indexing unit.
If a business name contains an acronym (a word formed from the first letters of several
words) or an abbreviation that is printed in capital letters on letterhead, index the unit as
one word.

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Abbreviations
Abbreviations in business names should be spelled in full. Examples of abbreviations in
business names include Inc. (Incorporated), Co. (Company), Ltd. (Limited), and Mfg.
(Manufacturing).
The terms Mr., Mrs., and Ms. preceding personal names are not considered abbreviations
and are not used as an indexing unit. They may, however, be placed in parentheses at the
end if necessary for clarification.
Possessives
If a name is possessive, ignore the apostrophe.
Personal Titles
If a name contains a title, disregard the title if it is used with a complete name. Place the
title in parentheses at the end.
If a title is used with an incomplete name, the title is the first indexing unit. An
incomplete name does not have a first and last name.
Married Woman’s Name
When indexing a married woman’s name, include her first name as an indexing unit, if it
is known.
Some companies place the husband’s name in parentheses.
Ms. or Mrs. may be placed in parentheses at the end.
If only the husband’s name is known, index using the husband’s name and place the
personal title at the end.
Hyphenated Names
A hyphenated name is considered one indexing unit, and the hyphen is ignored.
Directions
If a business name contains a directional word, index it as written.
Minor Words and Symbols
Minor words and symbols are indexed as separate units. The following are examples of
minor words: the, and, for. The following are examples of symbols: &, #, $, *, and @. If
The is the first word in a name, place it as the last indexing unit.
Prefixes
If a name begins with a prefix, consider the prefix and the word that follows as one unit.
Examples of prefixes are l’, el, la, las, mac, mc, and o’.

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Alphabetic Filing Rules Simple Personal Names: • When Filing simple personal names, divide the name into the following indexing units. Unit 1 Last name Unit 2 First name Unit 3 Middle name or initial • After determining indexing units, alphabetize the names according to unit 1. If you have two unit 1s that are exactly alike, unit 2 determines which is filed first. If units 1 and 2 are alike, alphabetize according to unit 2. • Individual letters are considered as indexing units. The period following the initial is ignored. Index using abbreviation File Nothing Before Something • • File the initial (ex. L) before the full name (ex. Libby) with same last names With similar names (ex. France/Frances) file the blank space (nothing, ex. France) before the s (ex. Frances) Identical names • If people have identical last, first, and middle names, then the city, state, street name, and street address are used to determine filing order Seniority Titles • Seniority titles are used as the last indexing unit in a name. Seniority titles include Junior, Senior, Jr., Sr., II, and III. Companies differ on spelling in full or abbreviating Jr. and Sr. Always cross-reference if necessary. Business Names • • • Index names of businesses according to how the names are written on the letterhead. (However, if the company name contains a person’s first and last name, some organizations use the person’s last name as the first indexing unit and the first name as the ...
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