Re: ALA Filing Rules for Abbreviations JUDITH HOPKINS AT SUNY BUFFALO 12 Nov 1992 21:20 UTC

Hannah King asked:
> What are the reasons the ALA filing rules were developed?  They may have been
> the answer to problems discovered when trying to use the dictionary arrange-
> ment.

   The ALA FILING RULES (1980) are much more dictionary-oriented than their
predecessors (1942 and 1968).  The earlier rules were much more hierarchical
in nature.   They provided for filing according to various categories and
sub-categories: main entries, added entries, subjects, titles.  Distinctions
among persons, places, and things.  Subarrangements based on categories of
persons, e.g., popes, English sovereigns, etc.  The filing rules covered
several hundred pages of a clothbound book.  The 1980 rules, by contrast,
are in a 50 page pamphlet.

   The intent of the 1980 filing rules was to simplify filing, to base the
rules on a "file as it is" principle rather than a "file as it was meant"
approach.  The new rules were also intended to be applicable to displays
of bibliographic data in other than card formats, e.g., to computer generated
lists.  The former rules had been so full of exceptions and special treatments
that they were a nightmare to apply in computer displays.  However, the rules
were not intended for arrangement of actual materials, such as periodicals
on the shelf.

   I was a member of the ALA/RTSD Filing Committee in the last year of its

Judith Hopkins                            VOICE: (716) 645-2796
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