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Library Filing Rules for Shelving: Home

Library Filing Rules Since 1981

General principle. The preferred alphabetical filing method is Word by Word (nothing comes before something and spaces are nothing).

  • A word is one or more characters set off by spaces and/or marks of significant punctuation.
  • File elements in a filing entry in exactly the form and order in which they appear.
  • Apply the "file-as-is" principle. Arrange the major components of a filing entry word by word, and then character by character.
  • Arrange individual letters according to the order of the English alphabet (A-Z).
  • Numbers come before letters

For a more thorough list of rules consult this Library of Congress document: