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Status: This page describes an active advanced relationship proposal and is not official.

Proposal number: RFC-xxx
Champion: caller#6
Current status: Discussion

Changes (this section to be removed from final draft)

(Please feel free to leave comments in this section)

  1. "Jr.", "Sr.", etc, were being sorted wrong. Example: if one follows the current official guideline, Hank Williams would not sort adjacent to Hank Williams, Jr.
  2. Refrences to "first" and "last" names changed to "given" and "family", respectively
  3. Some restructuring/reformatting done to (I hope) improve readability
  4. Some redundant examples removed. Also, specifically, Bob Marley & The Wailers removed since that may become an NGS collaboration (and in any case the MB entry didn't follow the guideline :P )
  5. Guideline for "Leading Articles" (e.g. "The) simplified. The effect is the same. Only move the "The" if it is the first word in a name and will significantly affect the sort-order.


Sort names make it possible for external applications to create logical, alphabetical indexes. For the best results, have an understanding of the guidelines' intent, but also understand that there will be times when an editor should use his/her best judgment™. The intent of this guideline is not to anticipate every possible exception to every "rule". Unusual "corner cases" can be found on the discussion page.

Sorting Orders

Personal names:

Family Name Given Name Jr. , Sr. , III etc. Prefix / Suffix
  1. Prefixes and suffixes include, for example, "Sir", "Dame", "DJ" and "Esq."
  2. Treat middle names and nicknames as part of the "given name"
  3. Family names take different forms in different cultures. The discussion page has some language-specific suggestions. When in doubt, consult an editor familiar with the language and culture in question.
  • Hank Williams, Jr. has the sort name "Williams, Hank, Jr."
  • Johhny "Guitar" Watson has the sort name "Watson, Johnny "Guitar""
  • DJ Shah has sort name "Shah, DJ"

Band names:

Band Name Leading "article" (e.g. "A" or "The")
  • If the first word in a band's name is a common article (no matter the language), then move that article to the last position in the sort-order.
  • The Beatles have sort name "Beatles, The"
  • Los Lobos have sort name "Lobos, Los"

Personal names combined with a band name:

Generally, this will indicate an artist's "supporting band". It does not include collaborations.

Family Name Given Name Jr. , Sr. , III etc. Prefix / Suffix Connector (e.g. "&") Band Name

Typographical Guidelines

  • Seperate the "parts" of a sort name with commas
  • Use Latin characters (including diacritics) regardless of the script used for the Artist Name
  • Avoid purely "stylistic" characters in favor of the common Latin characters they represent (where doing so allows an artist's name to be more logically colllated)
    • Convert symbols representing Latin characters to those characters
    • Convert "stylistic" ligatures into their constituent characters (i.e. ligatures that have no "semantic" role, but are purely "presentational")
    • Use half-width Latin characters, not full-width

Language specific rules

No language-specific exceptions are currently official. Please reference the discussion page for proposed language-specific exceptions to this guideline.