Re: Alphabetizing Surnames

Subject: Re: Alphabetizing Surnames
From: Tracy Boyington <tracy_boyington -at- OKVOTECH -dot- ORG>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 16:36:40 -0600

> I wholeheartedly agree with Diane Plassey Gutierrez, who said:
> <<snip>> ***Just ask the person the preferred format of her name.*** >

A great idea when it's possible, but I would also suggest coming up with
some rule of thumb to use when asking is not an option.

> If you can't, I'd vote for using both names as the last name, even without
> a hyphen (as in Booth Luce, Claire).

I picked her as an example because I was once looking for something
she'd written under her maiden name, Booth, and the card catalog (yes,
it was that long ago) said to look under Luce (I remember it because it
annoyed me that they would wipe out the work she did under her maiden
name, but that's another story). So it appears that, at least as far as
your local library is concerned, the final name is the last name when
there are no hyphens.

> I believe that if people go to the
> trouble to spell out both names, they should stay as a unit. (Otherwise,
> why not Claire B. Luce?)

Well, I guess you can ask Henry David Thoreau about that one. ;-) But
the fact that a woman chooses to spell out her maiden name doesn't mean
she considers it part of her last name. I occasionally use mine
together, but I would hate for someone to assume that means I should be
filed under "F" instead of "B." And what about middle names that sound
like last names, and vice versa? How do you know if Mary Lee Edwards was
born Mary Ann Lee or Mary Lee Jones?

Don't we have some indexing experts on this list? I'd like to hear their

Tracy Boyington mailto:tracy_boyington -at- okvotech -dot- org
Oklahoma Dept. of Vocational & Technical Education
Curriculum & Instructional Materials Center
Stillwater, Oklahoma

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