Alphabetizing

September Q&A

Q. I have an author with (let’s say) the last name St. James and am having a hard time figuring out the correct form for her bibliography entry. Is it correct to write St. James, Bertha? Or James, St. Bertha? HELP!!

Q. Would I alphabetize Kimberly Bowen-Smith Rinehart under B or under R?

Q. I am overwhelmed by the task of alphabetizing a list of book titles, as many of the titles have colons, commas, and in some cases, dashes separating the title and subtitle. It is all getting to be a bit much for me. Given the large number of titles I am working with, I would prefer to ignore all punctuation, but what to do in the following situation? Would I ignore the dash, the comma, and the colon and move on to the word following Band in the title? Believe it or not, these are actual examples: The Beatles—Rock Band; The Beatles, Rock Band; The Beatles: Rock Band; The Beatles Rock Band.

Q. We are starting to include indexes in the books we publish here at my office. In 16.65, you say that “If many numerals occur in an index, they may be listed together in numerical order at the beginning of the index, before the As.” We include large letters at the beginning of each new section: A before the entries beginning with the letter A, etc. If we include a section of numbers before the letters, what would that section heading be? 0–9? Numbers? It looks odd not having any title.

Q. If a person has two last names, but they are not hyphenated, like Harriet Beecher Stowe, how do you alphabetize them—by Beecher or Stowe? Beecher is not her middle name. It is her maiden name.

Q. In alphabetizing a list of donors that includes both foundations and individuals, is there a rule? The foundation would typically be ordered by the first word, but names by the last word. What do you do when they are combined in the same list?

Q. In letter-by-letter alphabetization, is it correct to assume that articles, prepositions, and conjunctions are not alphabetized? E.g., would Albert the Great precede Albert of Saxony?

Q. I have a disagreement with a coworker about how to alphabetize street names with foreign words in them. I live in San Diego, so there are a lot of Spanish street names. I, for example, would file Via Hacienda under V. She argues that because Via means “street,” it should be under H instead. She reasons that if it were House Street, we would file it under H. My argument is that since we are not speaking Spanish, we should follow standard English alphabetizing rules.

Q. Please help me alphabetize Villa Grove and Village. (My son and I have a disagreement on this.)