According to the American Library Association, filing alphabetically is done in ascending order of the alphabet beginning with A and finishing with Z. This means that names or items beginning with A are filed first. When multiple names or items begin with the same letter, the order is determined based on the second letter, third letter and so on.
- Determine the first letter of item to be filed
When filing according to the names of individuals, it is important to determine whether filing will be done according to first or last name.
- Default to the second letter when words begin with the same letter
When words begin with the same letter, default to the second letter of the word. When words have the same first two letters, default to the third letter, and so on.
- File names of people before names of items
When items to be filed are a combination of people and things, file the people first. The general rule is file animate items before inanimate ones.
- Consider last names that begin with Mac or Mc as all being spelled Mac
Last names that begin with Mac or Mc should be considered as the same spelling. This does not apply to last names that begin with and O followed by an apostrophe. Those items should be filed as beginning with O.