Sorting names

Sally Hambridge <> Wed, 19 October 1994 20:22 UTC

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From: Sally Hambridge <>
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Subject: Sorting names

>>         Sally suggested that names be "Lastname, first names". If this is
>> agreed - the examples would need changing.

>Has anyone else got any strong desires/arguments either way?
>I personally always think it looks silly, and am not convinced
>sorting is always important.

This is a challenge.  How do I persuade you that sorting is important
when you're not convinced it is.  Hmmmm.

I guess that it's important to think about people using IAFA
templates in a context of research.  If a person is doing research
on a topic, not looking for a specific item, but interested in
current work in a field, or general information, then the search
they do will probably be a broad, sweeping search.  If they get
a lot of hits back, (100-200 - hopefully if there are more they 
will narrow, but I know some people who won't!) they will want to
orgranize the templates in a way to make browsing through them easier.

This may be one of several ways:  By reverse date order; by an index
weighting scheme (as Wais does), or by author name.  

Library catalogs (with paper cards) arranged subjects alphbetically
by author name.  Online catalogs have options for sorting, but in
general, author names are still sortable and still allow organizing
by that principle.  I envision IAFA templates and URCs to be used
in the same way that online catalog records are used - as a means
to make decisions about whether a piece of information is relevant
without having to access the piece of information and look through
it to make that decision.  (In the library world these are called

OK - this probably hasn't convinced you that it's important, since I
probably haven't said anything that's news to you.

Try this:  if we don't allow sorting of these names, they will *NEVER*
be sortable.  If in the future people decide they need this ability, we
will not be able to offer it without wild code convolutions to parse 
names in First M. Last, Jr. order to make sure we get them right.
The draft states that the templates are meant to be machine 
parse-able.  I submit that names in Fist M. Last, Jr order *ARE
NOT* parse-able.

If your objection is that this *LOOKS* bad, then I say I favor ugly
templates over ugly code.

I don't mean to rant, but I do think this needs to change.