Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
American Library Association publications
ALA Filing Rules by
Publication Date: 1980-01-01
These rules apply to the arrangement of bibliographic records of library materials whether displayed in card, book, or online format.
ALA Rules for Filing Catalog Cards by
Publication Date: 1968-01-01
This work is a guide to filing catalogue cards using the basic order of alphabetical, word-by-word filing.
(Note: Although ALA Filing Rules has a publication date of 1980 and ALA Rules for Filing Catalog Cards, 2nd Edition has a publication date of 1968, these are the latest editions of both titles.)
Library of Congress publication
Other publications of note
Establishing Alphabetic, Numeric, and Subject Filing Systems by
Publication Date: 2000-01-01
Publisher's description: "This standard is intended to aid in the selection and application of a filing system that will enable users to retrieve information when needed. It describes three principal systems: alphabetic filing, subject filing, and numeric filing. In addition, it contains standard rules for indexing alphabetic data. This standard will establish a uniform files classification system that makes sense to the users while identifying and preserving a set order of records. Three informative appendices include instructions for indexing, factors to consider when using automated indexing systems, and exceptions for alphabetic indexing."
Guidelines for Alphabetical Arrangement of Letters and Sorting of Numerals and Other Symbols
"This technical report provides rules for the alphabetical arrangement of headings in lists of all kinds, such as bibliographies, indexes, dictionaries, directories, inventories, etc. It also covers the sorting of Arabic or Roman numbers, and other symbols. It consists of seven rules that cover problems which may arise in alphanumeric arrangement of headings. The technical report is based on the traditional order of letters in the English alphabet and that of numerals in ascending arithmetical order. It does not address issues concerning meaning or type of headings. The rules can generally be applied by human beings as well as by computers. Each rule is followed by illustrative examples."
Common U.S. Filing Rules (PDF)
by Michael Buckland, shows brief examples of both versions of the ALA rules.
Library of Congress filing rules for shelflisting
While this document has a specific purpose for LC staff, it might be a useful quick guide for shelving decisions in an individual library.