When sorting alphabetically, there are two methods to choose from: letter-by-letter or word-by-word. The sorting is different in terms of how spaces, numbers and symbols are treated in the sort
There are also three variant forms of the letter-by-letter and word-by-word sort: Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), International Standards Organization (IS) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL)
- • In letter-by-letter alphabetization, spaces and other characters are ignored
during alphabetizing, and words are sorted as if they are run together.
(Dictionaries and phone books are sorted letter-by-letter. Ever have trouble
finding words or names in dictionaries or phone books?)
- • In word-by-word alphabetization, spaces are evaluated, so we sort letters up
to the end of the first word and then stop. If two or more entries begin with the
same word, then the second words are sorted.
- • Most clients prefer the word-by-word alphabetical sort for their index. Here is an
example showing the difference: