Q. I can't believe I'm asking this in this age of computers, but are there printed instructions for filing available?
A. Absolutely! Even though our online catalogs have programming to arrange screen displays of search results and the software we use will arrange lists for us quickly, there are many times we still need rules for arranging words. Human resources departments still have paper files on staff, fiction books are arranged on shelves by the authors' last names, and sometimes you drop the box of name tags and have to resquence them before registration for a meeting begins!
As described on our ALA Library Fact Sheet on filing rules, there are two main ways to file--word by word and letter by letter. ALA maintains in print a set of library filing rules for each, with the ALA Filing Rules being the letter by letter version--and the one developed decades ago to guide the programming of online catalogs. ALA Rules for Filing Catalog Cards is the classic set of instructions for filing word-by-word.
(Links updated December 13, 2012.)'