Alphabetizing - Personal Preference

Re: things that begin with “The” like The Beatles. For your own use, do you prefer items that begin with The sorted under T, or in the case of the example, would you prefer The Beatles sorted under B?

I like T. Sure it leaves the T list pretty bloated, but S is always over-sized anyhow; so maybe they can keep each other company.

B. I spent too many years thumbing through card catalogs.

More problematic for me are things like Alan Parsons Project or Bryan Setzer Orchestra.

One of Gary Larson’s Far Side books is all indexed under “T”.

The One About…

ETA: Wiener Dog Art

“The” is the definite article, and contributes nothing to the meaning of a name or title other than to indicate that there is only one of them, or at least only one under discussion.

I prefer to alphabetize under the first meaningful word.

On the other hand, I find that I have no problem alphabetizing under an indefinite article, “a” or “an”. So I am inconsistent. Go figure.

It seems to me that this would cause some problems with groups who have names that may or may not “officially” include the word “the”. We know that the Beatles are officially “The Beatles” because they had an album entitled The Beatles. We also know that Talking Heads are not “The Talking Heads” because they have an album entitled The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads. But what about bands like:

Grateful Dead
Jefferson Airplane
Buffalo Springfield
Climax Blues Band
Blues Magoos

I’m not sure any of these ever had albums with their name preceded by “The” on the cover, but at least some of them are popularly referred to using the definite article. What criterion do you go by?

I’ve never heard anyone say “*The *Buffalo Springfield”

The ones, sure.

I don’t use “the” when alphabetizing.

Ignore the, a, and an when indexing my personal goods.

When I alphabetized my records, I’d do i by the first word of the group name, excluding “The.” For an individual artist, I’d use the first letter of the last name. If it were a group with someone’s name as part of it, I’d use the individual’s last name. If it’s a two-name group, I’d use the first name listed.

I eventually quit alphabetizing; it made more sense to me to file albums by the most recent ones played.

I guess this is why these people chose their name…

The, The.

I also alphabetize by the first meaningful word. Beatles, Rolling Stones, Who, etc. I alphabetize single artists by their first name as well. Bruce Springsteen, Charlie Daniels, Eric Clapton, Joe Walsh, Tom Petty. My computer alphabetizes song files this way and so does my iPod and I find it just as easy to search.

When I had to devise a sorting procedure for a large number of song files some time ago, I came up with a rule that worked very well for us. Use the exact title, but eliminate any “A,” “An,” or “The” that preceeds the main part of the title.

So “A Lonely Man,” “The Lonely Man,” or “Lonely Man” would be filed together (the date would be the subsort in this case).

Although it worked fine for song titles, I’m not sure how well it might work in other situations.

I was literally afraid to open this thread. Being a bit OCD, making hard and fast rules for sorting stuff is always my goal, but one agonized over endlessly. However, “the” is one I worked out decades ago: I ignore an opening “the.” My MP3 player does not, meaning I have to go in and change the tags on everything. No sweat because I have software to do it, and I derive great satisfaction from watching everything becoming meet and proper.

“A” and “an” are a different story, and will drive me crazy. It’s one reason I don’t have anything by A Flock of Seagulls.

I never use “The.” It drove me crazy when I lived in Singapore that the music stores would have everything under “The!”

Cat Stevens always throws me for a loop, though.

I’d say that they should be respectively filed under A and B (instead of P and S). The persons name is part of the band/group’s name, not all of it, so I would alphabetize the first word. So I guess the rule for group name supercedes the rule for a persons name for me.

My own personal rules:

A, An, and The are treated as if they are invisible.

Foreign language definitive articles like El, La, Le, and Los are used for alphabetization. I acknowledge this is inconsistent of me.

Numbers are alphabetized as if they were spelled out.

I see a lot of confusion over Lois McMaster Bujold. Should her books be filed under M or B? I’ve seen stores do it both ways. I personally opt for B.

I never sort “The” titles under “T” (unless the following word begins with “T.”) This helps especially with bands that are inconsistent or drop the article. Like, see “Smashing Pumpkins” vs “The Smashing Pumpkins.” (ETA: they go back on forth on the albums. First two are without the “the.” Next few until Zeitgeist are with the “the.” Then they drop it for Zeitgeist but put it back for Oceania. Pain in the ass if I were sorting it according to name. All (The) Smashing Pumpkins albums should be filed under “S.”)

Personal alphabetizing? :dubious:

I always ignore articles when alphabetizing. That’s the way I was taught, and it makes sense to me.

You won’t find them on any list of mine. Same with “A, A.”

In cases like “The The” or, let’s pretend there’s a band called “The” (and for all I know, there may be one), that would of course get alphabetized under “The, The” and “The.” There’s no confusions there, because where else in the alphabet would you look for a band named “The”? I figure leaving off “the” and other articles when alphabetizing is to keep things simple. How many people remember whether it’s “The Pixies” or “Pixies” (it’s “Pixies” on their albums). Is it “Beatles” or “The Beatles”? (“The Beatles.”) Or you’d have the stupid case where some Smashing Pumpkins albums are under “The Smashing Pumpkins” while others are under “Smashing Pumpkins.” Eliminating the article makes it easier to find. You don’t have to potentially look in two locations in the index trying to figure out if the indexer filed it under the article or not, and you don’t have to remember whether the article is officially part of the name or not. With a name like “The” or “The The,” it’s pretty clear you have to look under “T” because where else would you look? Plus, in the first case, I’d argue that “The” isn’t being used as a definite article, anyway, it’s a proper noun, and in the second case, I’d say the first “the” is an article, but the second one is being used as a noun.