Q. I work in a bookstore. Usually keeping my section in perfect order is a lost cause, but when trying to alphabetize I sometimes have questions about special situations. First of all, would you put O’Shaughnessy before Omartian because it has an apostrophe, or would you pretend the apostrophe isn’t there for purposes of alphabetization? (I have been assuming that an apostrophe would count as a letter just before A in the alphabet.) I would also appreciate it if you could enlighten me as to whether there is an order for punctuation—if apostrophes come before hyphens and whatnot. In alphabetizing names that have abbreviations in them, should I treat author St. George as “Saint George” or “S-T-period-space-George”? It makes a big difference as to whether to put him in the STs or the SAs. Thank you for your attention.
Q. We are alphabetizing a list of Broadway musical titles and are wondering how we should deal with titles in French that begin with articles (La Cage aux Folles and Les Misérables). We are leaning toward alphabetizing under the article as you suggest for place names.
Q. We are alphabetizing a list of acronyms letter by letter, and some contain ampersands. While CMOS advises the skipping of punctuation marks and spaces, I’m left wondering what to do about this symbol. Which comes first, HMD or H&MN?
Q. As the editor of my workplace magazine, I have to alphabetize lists of donors and members. I can find no references to the following situation in the Manual: a man and woman donate as a couple (and thus will be included as one entry on the list) but have different last names. This seems to be an etiquette question, but exploring those references has not helped either. Should the names be alphabetized by whichever partner’s name is listed first on the form submitted by the donors or by the man’s last name? Please share your insight.
Q. In a bibliography where the title of an unsigned article is a date (“1939: The Beginning of the End”), does the bibliography begin with this entry, or is it alphabetized according to its spelled-out word?
Q. I’m indexing Portuguese names. For example, António Gonçalves Caldeira. Am I to index by the first last name or the second?
Q. Is alphabetizing abbreviations based on the letters in the abbreviation or the letters in the spelled-out word? For example, does wthr (weather) come before wiki (Wikipedia)? Which is “correcter,” letter-by-letter alphabetizing or word-by-word?
Q. Do you recommend last-first or first-last order for obscure or potentially confusing names in index subentries? Last-first seems awkward in terms of the number of commas required, but first-last requires alphabetizing by given names—also awkward.
Q. Your style manual shows an example of “Truman, Mrs. Harry S. (Bess).” In an index under “Truman,” does Harry S. come before or after Mrs. Harry S. (Bess)? That is, does Bess come before Harry or does Harry come before Mrs.?
Q. I’m editing an art book, and an alphabetized list of mentioned paintings for the back of the book has all the titles with the article in front—for instance, “The Black Rose” is alphabetized under T. I want to change these to “Black Rose, The,” but my author feels that titles are sacrosanct and cannot be changed. I can’t find anything in my manual about treating paintings differently from titles of books in alphabetizing. In the end, I’ll go with whatever she decides, but I’d like to get your take on this. Thanks.