Posts Tagged ‘Alphabetical Filing’
The order to file alphabetically by name is: last name, first name or initial, then middle name or initial.
1) To get started first determine how many records will be put into the system. This will determine how much shelving you need.
(Read my article “Questions to Ask Before Choosing Shelving for Your Files”) for help determining what type of shelving to buy.
2) Then, divide your shelving into 26 sections. Studies have determined the percentage of how many people have a last name starting with each letter of the alphabet. By using the results of these studies, you can estimate what percentage of the file room each letter will use.
File Room Alpha Breakdown
(A=3.2%) (B=9.7%) (C=8.0%) (D=4.9%) (E=2.2%) (F=3.8%)
(G=4.9%) (H=7.8%) (I=0.4%) (J=2.6%) (K=3.6%) (L=4.5%)
(M=9.3%) (N=1/7%) (O=1.3%) (P=4.5%) (Q=0.2%) (R=4.8%)
(S=10.2%) (T=3.4%) (U=0.4%) (V=1.0%) (W=6.8%) (X=0.1%)
Each section will reflect the information provided above. An easy way to designate each section is to write each letter on a piece of white tape or a blank white label. You can stick this lettered label at the start of each section.
3) Put the files in the correct section based on the first letter of the person’s last name.
(Here is a handy tool that will automatically alphabetize lists.)
4) Next, go the second letter of the surname, then the third letter, etc..
Some additional rules are:
-Surnames with prefixes (Mac, Mc., etc.), are filed as if they were one word.
-How about if the two last names are the same? Then go to the first letter of the first name.
-When someone has a title, put the title at the end of their name.
-Any abbreviations in a name should be alphabetized as
if they were spelled out (St. – saint)
-Ignore hyphens and file compound names as one unit.
For maximum efficiency-color code your alpha system.
Please share any alphabetic filing stories you might have!
Here is a great place to find supplies for your alpha filing system.
In an organized filing system folders are arranged in some kind of order. Some commonly used systems include: alphabetical, straight numeric, terminal digit numeric, or by a category.
Sub categories can also be added to the above methods. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of the various systems upfront will allow for an informed decision based on your particular needs.
|(A=3.2%) (B=9.7%) (C=8.0%) (D=4.9%) (E=2.2%) (F=3.8%)|
|(G=4.9%) (H=7.8%) (I=0.4%) (J=2.6%) (K=3.6%) (L=4.5%)|
|(M=9.3%) (N=1/7%) (O=1.3%) (P=4.5%) (Q=0.2%) (R=4.8%)|
|(S=10.2%) (T=3.4%) (U=0.4%) (V=1.0%) (W=6.8%) (X=0.1%)|
- The need to shift the records after purging records is reduced because which records that are removed is usually random.
-The records that are then added to the system will also be random and fall across the entire filing system.
- A cross reference may be avoided if the situation is such that the name used on the record is easily available.