Alphabetization under "de" and other prefixes

JOSEPH HILL goodbooks at
Sat Oct 1 17:24:59 EDT 2005

Why don't you also tell them that all theyneed do is go to a local library and check the verso page of the volume in question and save all that extra work.
Nothing like spending time on a project hat has all been done before!
When they were "drawing straws" over.Caesar's Wars & Wars of Caesar I knew it was time for me to get out of there.
....Or,why did I spend 37 years working in a library???

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Sat, 1 Oct 2005 12:49:53 -0700
To: modlib at
Subject: Alphabetization under "de" and other prefixes

As a professor of library cataloging (among other things) I
can offer the following information:

American libraries enter English and American names containing
prefixes (de, du, van, von, etc.) under the prefix: De
Quincey, Du Maurier, etc.  This is easy and straightforward.

The entry element for Dutch, French, German, Italian, etc.
names varies according to nationality and whether the prefix
is a preposition (de, von) or an article (Le, La) or a
contraction of an article and a prefix (Du, Des).  This
confuses the hell out of my students.

If a person changes nationality, the rules of entry change
too; for example, Braun, Werner von (German) becomes Von
Braun, Werner (American).


---- Original message ----
>Date: Sat, 1 Oct 2005 12:08:28 -0700
>From: Scot Kamins <kamins at>  
>To: modlib at
>On Oct 1, 2005, at 11:52 AM, John wrote:
>> .. project.  I was entering books into my inventory and had
>> issue with.
>> Selected Writings of Thomas De Quincey.  Thought I would
see how  
>> you classed
>> it, and discovered one can drill down from a genre to
titles, but  
>> one cannot
>> start with a title to find it's genre.  Am I incorrect?
>You can use your browser's Search command and enter "Quincey"
and get  
>right to the listing. But I don't spell out the title as
>Writings of Thomas De Quincey" but just as "Selected Writings."
>Hmm. I probably should expand those brief titles, huh? Likely
a good  
>idea for folks doing your kind of search.  Is this what you mean?
>> I scanned the grouping, and found De Quincey, as the last
item in  
>> Literary
>> Anthologies.  Should it have been higher in alphabetical order?
>I don't think so. I alphabetized it as "Quincey."
>> Good work, as usual.
>Scot Kamins
>"We must be the change we want to see in the world."  ~ Gandhi
Gordon B. Neavill
Associate Professor
Library and Information Science Program
106 Kresge Library
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 48202
313-577-0507 (tel); 313-577-7563 (fax)
aa3401 at

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