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Topic: Question about listing authors' last names

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Subject: Question about listing authors' last names
Date Posted: 8/22/2007 2:40 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2006
Posts: 368
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I apologize for the entry I made earlier - I forgot to put in the subject! Then, because I'm a computer newbie, I didn't know how to edit! Anyway, I apologize for taking up the space. If anyone knows how to delete it, please do! Now, my question is: How does the site decide to list authors whose names begin with "van" or "Van"? I posted several books by Robert Van Gulik. Most are posted as "van Gulik" with the G's. Another is posted as at the library with the "V's". Probably not that important, unless someone puts in one or the other spelling. Thanks for your patience!    M'ann

Date Posted: 8/22/2007 5:31 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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I have a few Judith Van Giesen's, and they all show up in the G's.  I also have a Laura Van Warmer, but I have no idea if that's in the V's or W's since they're right together!

Date Posted: 8/24/2007 7:16 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,599
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That's a hard one to answer. I used to have one of those weird "Van" names (my ex's last name, which actually had THREE parts to it) and his family separated the three parts and capitalized each section...and they considered the last name to start with a V...but I have also seen it done the other way, with the "van" not capitalized, with the parts run together without spaces, etc. I think it just depends on the person's preference or the way it has always been done.

Cheryl

Date Posted: 8/24/2007 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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I guess my personal preference would be to put it in the V's.  After all, if it's not your first or middle name, it's your last name.   Of course, in some parts of the country "Van" is a common middle name too, just to complicate things further.

I think technically "van" just means "of."  So Anne of Cleeves would be Anne Van Cleeves under that system.

Date Posted: 8/25/2007 10:11 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 2,024
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I've always thought of names that involved "Van" or "Von" or "De" as beginning with those letters, even if there's a space that follows before the next word.

Other confusing names are the British two-word surnames, like Arthur Conan Doyle.  For the longest time I thought the last name was  "Doyle" and the middle name was "Conan," but I believe that in fact the last name is "Conan Doyle" and in libraries (at least in England) the Sherlock Holmes books will be under the letter "C."  I think that Alexander McCall Smith (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Club) is another one of these two-word surnames, because in my local library I find his books under "M."

Date Posted: 8/29/2007 3:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/25/2006
Posts: 53
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Somewhere along the way I was taught that if the Van, Von, De, etc were Capitalized, then the names were alphabetized according to those prefixes. However, if they were not capitalized (van, von, de, etc), they were alphabetized according to the following name. Still, as others have said, I have seen them listed willy-nilly.

Date Posted: 8/31/2007 1:38 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2006
Posts: 368
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Thank you for your replies. I guess I'll leave the books as they are listed. Hopefully people will look in both places. Again, thanks for the help.     M'ann