The reason for the lack of tidbits

I have been in the depths of alphabetization hell for a while. We have an intern in our office who is supposed to be doing this project for me, but 1. I’m a terrible delegator, 2. she’s a very conscientious worker but just doesn’t have the same degree of knowledge that I have, 3. I’m a perfectionist, and 4. my boss is a perfectionist.

So our intern has done the work, and then I’ve gone over it and made a ton of corrections. It’s slow and boring. But it does raise some interesting questions.

The project is to compile annual indexes of Mayor’s Orders from 1995 through 2010 so that they can be bound. The indexes were done already, but half of them existed only in PDF and none of them were consistent in format, and well, as I said, I’m a perfectionist and so is my boss. So we’re fixing them so that they are in a consistent format.

One element of this is that the cabinet appointment section is alphabetized by the first main word in the agency name. I’ve mentioned things like this before in this space, if I remember correctly. So, for example, “Director, Department of Health” is alphabetized by the H in Health, and “City Administrator” is alphabetized by C in City. Within each agency, the appointment orders are listed numerically. So, for example:

Appointment – Interim Director, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services (Thomas N. Tippett)                                                                                                                      2000-19

Appointment – Interim Director, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services (Kenneth B. Ellerbe)                                                                                                                      2000-74

Appointment – Acting Director, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services (Ronnie Few)                                                                                                                                  2000-110

Appointment – Director, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services (Ronnie Few) 2000-182

The other day I had a small bit of pondering because of this.

In 1999,  the Department of Human Rights and Local Business Development split in the middle of the year into the Office of Human Rights and the Office of Local Business Development. There were three appointments: the Acting Director of the Department of Human Rights and Local Business Development, the Acting Director of the Office of Local Business Development, and the Interim Director of the Office of Human Rights. How would you group them? As three separate agencies? As two agencies? Or all together as one, even though Local and Human aren’t near to each other alphabetically? And does it matter that probably you are the only person who will ever see the finished document, and the only person who would care?

I chose to group them together as one agency. Is that what you would have done?

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