Alphabetic Indexing Rules

Alphabetic Indexing Rules
OT 122
Chapter Two
• Must be a consistent system to work!
• Indexing?
– Selecting the filing segment under which to store
a record and determining the order in which the
units should be considered
– Most of the time it’s…
• Alphabetic by last name
• Could be DOB, SSN, patient number, etc.
• There are 10 alphabetic indexing rules
Rule One
• Indexing Order of Units
– Unit = …word…
• Personal Names
– Last name, aka…
• Surname
– First name, aka
• Given name
– Middle name or initial
• Initials are considered separate indexing units
– Bridget J. Bergiel vs. Bridget Bergiel
Rule One (cont’d.)
• Business Names
– Indexed as written
– Each word is a single unit
– Businesses with same names
• City name is the last indexing unit
Rule Two
• Minor Words and Symbols in Business Names
– Small words are considered separate indexing
• Articles, prepositions, conjunctions
– Symbols are spelled out
– If ‘the’ is the first word, it is used as the last
indexing unit
Rule Three
• Punctuation and Possessives
Apostrophes (‘)?
Commas (,)?
Exclamation points (!)?
Dashes, hyphens, periods, question marks (-/.?)
– Ignored
» Ignored
Rule Four
• Single Letters and Abbreviations
– Personal Names
• Initials, abbreviated names and nicknames are considered
separate units and indexed as written
– Business Names
• If single letters are separated by a space, each letter is a
separate unit
– D & S Delivery Service
• If single letters are separated by a period, IGNORE periods
and index the letters as one unit
– JJ Dental Ceramics
• Acronyms (ARMA) are treated as one unit
• Hint – If letters are pronounced separately (WWCC), treat as
separate letters. If pronounced as a word (NASA), treat as
an acronym.
Rule Five
• Titles and Suffixes
– Personal Names
• Both of these are the last indexing unit
• If a name has both, the title is the last indexing unit
– Dr Roy Jones, Jr
• Numeric suffixes are filed before alphabetic
– Dr Roy Jones II, M.D.
*Royal and religious titles followed by a name are
indexed as written
– Princess Di
– Business Names
• Titles are indexed as written
– Mr. Ed’s
Preparing Cross-Reference Cards
• Unusual Names
– If you can’t decide which is the surname, use the
name in the usual surname position, then prepare
a card with the first name as the key unit
• Hyphenated Surnames
– Write 1st card with entire hyphenated surname as
the key unit (without the hyphen), then prepare a
card treating the 1st part of the hyphenated name
as a middle name
Preparing Cross-Reference Cards
• Alternative Names
– Prepare a cross-reference card when a person is
known by more than one name
• Abbreviations and Acronyms
– Prepare a cross-reference card with the entire name
• Similar Names
– When names sound similar but are spelled differently,
prepare cross-reference cards with the other spellings
Rule Six
• Prefixes – Articles and Particles
– Article?
• Foreign
– a la, d’, la, el, etc.
– Combined with the part of the name following it
to form a single unit
– Spaces, cases and punctuation are ignored
Rule Seven
• Numbers in Business Names
– Numbers spelled out are treated as words
– Numbers in digits are filed before words
• This goes for 1st units, as well
– Arabic numerals (?) are filed before Roman
numerals (?)
– Groups of numbers are filed by the first
– If number follows text, then file alphabetically
until word without a number
– When indexing numbers with text, ignore text and
consider numbers only
Rule Eight
• Organizations and Institutions
– File according to official name
(Haven’t we been doing that already?!?)
Rule Nine
• Identical Names
– Order is determined by address
• City names
• State or province names
• Street names
Numbered streets before alphabetic
Compass directions are considered as written
House or building numbers
Zip codes are not considered
Rule Ten
• Government Names
– 1st by location (country, state, county, or city)
– 2nd by distinctive name of dept, bureau, office or
– Federal
• 1st unit is “United States Government”
– State and Local
• Location, then distinctive name
– Foreign
• 1st translated location name
• Followed by remainder of formal name
Cross-Referencing Business Names
• Compound Names…?
– Bus Com 1??
– Prepare a cross reference card for the other
• Abbreviations and Acronyms
– Same as before
• Popular or ‘coined’ names
– File initially by most commonly used name, then
cross-reference under full name
Cross-Referencing Business Names
• Hyphenated Names
– Flip flop hyphenated terms on cross-reference
• Divisions and Subsidiaries
– Cross-reference the parent company
• Changed Names
– Cross-reference old name
• Similar Names
– Includes names that could be considered one or
two units
– Only the similar part of the name is crossreferenced
Cross-Referencing Business Names
• Non-English Business Names
– File original with English spelling
– Cross-reference foreign version
• Foreign Government Names
– Same as businesses
– File original with English spelling
– Cross-reference foreign version

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