ARMA Filing Rules
Administrative Skills
Why have rules?

“The real test of an efficient
records storage system is being
able to find records quickly once
they have been stored.”

1. Why is
consistency in
filing so
important?
Indexing

Determining the filing segment
(or name) by which the record
will be stored and retrieved.

The name most likely to be used
in requesting the record is the
one to be used for storage.
Coding

Marking the record to indicate
the field (name, number,
subject) by which it is to be
stored.

/ between each word
Underline the key unit
Number remaining units


2. Why are indexing rules
important when filing names
alphabetically?
Rule #1

Personal names
1.
2.
3.

Surname (last name)
Given name (first name)
Middle name or initial
Business names


As written (on letterhead)
Each word is a unit
Remember:
Nothing comes before something.
A blank space comes before a
letter.
Baker / William
Bakersly / William
Rule #2 – Minor Words and
Symbols in Business Names

Articles: a, an, the

Prepositions: to, at, on, of, for

Conjunctions: and, but, or, nor

Symbols: &, %, $
Are separate indexing units
Symbols indexed as if spelled out
“The” as the first word is
considered the last unit.
Rule #3 Punctuation


All punctuation marks are
disregarded
Names are indexed as written
Doggydaycare.com is indexed as
doggydaycarecom
Rule #4 – Single Letters and
Abbreviations



Initials in personal names are
separate units
Nicknames are indexed as
written
Business acronyms and
abbreviations are indexed as
written
Rule #5



A title before a name, a seniority
suffix, or professional suffix after
a name is the last indexing unit.
Numbers are filed before
alphabetic suffixes.
Royal and religious titles
followed by surname only are
indexed as written.

Business names --- titles are
indexed as written.
Rule #6
Prefixes – Articles and Particles
“A,” “an,” or “the” in another
language used as part of a
person’s name

De La Hoya
 D’Agostino
 Le Fleur

Mac or Mc
 Von, Van, Von der, Van der
 O’
 Saint, St., San, etc.
 Ten, Ter, Te
All are combined with the name
that follows to form a single unit.
Punctuation and spaces are
disregarded.

Rule #7 – Numbers in
Business Names





Numbers written as digits are
filed before letters or words.
Numbers spelled out are filed
alphabetically.
Digits are filed ascending.
Arabic numbers before Roman
numerals.
Disregard ordinal suffixes (rd,
nd, etc.)
Rule #8 – Organizations and
Institutions

Organizations and institutions
are indexed and filed according
to the names written on their
letterheads.
1st National Bank = 1/ National/
Bank
St. Vincent’s Medical Center =
StVincents/ Medical/ Center
Rule #9 – Identical Names

1.
2.
3.
4.
If two people or organizations
have identical names, filing
order is determined by
address.
City name
State or province names
Street names
House or building numbers
Rule #10 – Government
Names
1.
2.
Indexed first by the name of
the governmental unit.
Indexed next by the distinctive
departmental name
The first three
indexing units of a
U.S. federal agency
are:
United
States
Government
(always!)


State and local government: the
first indexing units are the
names of the state, town,
county, etc.
Next, index the most distinctive
departmental/unit name.
Foreign government agencies are
indexed by the first distinctive
English name, then by the rest of the
official government name, then by
divisions of the government.
Cross-References

Personal Names

Unusual Names
Kim David could also be David Kim
 Cross reference as:

David Kim
See Kim David

Hyphenated Surnames
Mary Jones-Stamford needs a crossreference as:
Stamford Mary Jones
See JonesStamford, Mary


Alternate Names
When an individual uses more than
one name, such as a professional
name (DBA, AKA)
Mrs. Jennifer Reed in private life is
Ms. Jennifer Jackson in
professional life.
Jackson Jennifer Ms.
See also: Reed Jennifer Mrs.

Names with multiple spellings

Jason Snyder
Snider
See also: Snyder, Shneider
Business Names

Compound Names
Jasper, Nilson, and Fister, CPAs
should be cross referenced under
each name.
Nilson, Fister and Jasper, CPAs
See Jasper, Nilson, and Fister,
CPAs

Acronyms and abbreviations
NELA should be cross referenced:
Northwest Educational Loan
Association
See NELA
Popular or Coined Names

Spokane Falls Community
College should be crossreferenced:
SFCC
see Spokane Falls Community
College
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ARMA Filing Rules