TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Alphabetizing Surnames From:"Gail M. Hall" <gmhall -at- APK -dot- NET> Date:Fri, 11 Dec 1998 09:59:31 GMT
On Thu, 10 Dec 1998 16:36:40 -0600, you (Tracy Boyington
<tracy_boyington -at- OKVOTECH -dot- ORG>) in a message to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
>> 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.
I found that Chicago Manual of Style, 14th edition, has a lot of good
information about names and how to index them. They go into a lot of details
about Spanish names as well as names from other countries.
If you want "rules," I would start there.
>> 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.
It is often good to cross-index names of people who might be known by more
than one name, e.g. "van Gogh" and "Gogh" because some people don't know
which letter to look him up under.
>> 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?
If the person is famous or well known in a particular field, you can look
that person up in other sources, such as "Who's Who" type books,
encyclopedia, or biographical dictionary. This is what CMS14 advises.
Gail M. Hall
gmhall -at- apk -dot- net