Alphabetizers, or alphabetic sorters, are tools that assist individuals and offices in sorting material alphabetically according to a filing system that the person or company has adopted. Although alphabetic sorting may seem elementary, it provides unique challenges for certain entities in some situations and exposes them to financial losses.
Alphabetic sorters are available in two general forms. Physical sorters may have compartments, trays or bins with tabs, labels or some marking to indicate the alphabetic group to which a record belongs, designed to accommodate individual records consisting of single sheets or large file folders. Electronic, or digital, sorters are software packages or programs that enable users to sort large files or pieces of data by a predetermined alphabetic system.
Names containing hyphens; titles, such as Dr. or Doctor; and prefixes, such as de la, del and della, Mac and Mc, O’, Saint and St. and van der and von, can lead to confusion and filing inconsistencies that result in the misfiling, misplacement or loss of valuable information, records and files. Any commercial or public organization or agency that handles client lists faces potential loss caused by misfiling.
Insurance companies, banks, hospitals, lawyers and government agencies are examples of organizations that need to have systems in place that ensure documents, files and records remain properly alphabetized to avoid liability for negligence resulting from inadequate filing systems. Filing experts have developed systems of rules to ensure consistent alphabetic sorting and filing. Alphabetizer sorters incorporate such systems and help ensure their consistent use.