# Letter and Number seperation?

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic Chat' started by gifi4, Mar 15, 2013.

# Letter and Number seperation?

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1. ### gifi4How am I a 'New Member'?

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Apr 21, 2010
Melbourne
Just a quick question:
If you sort items by name, you can usually sort them into groups like: 0-9 and A-(Whatever)
Can anyone tell me what it is when sorted like that and how it's split up (What does A go to then what else?)

2. ### FAST6191Techromancer

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Nov 21, 2005
It is actually a fairly noted problem in computing (though not a problem in the same sense as say the halting problem).

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/12/sorting-for-humans-natural-sort-order.html and http://support.microsoft.com/kb/322067 is another.

All sorts of subtle terms exist but alphanumeric is a good start.

If this was actually the question of a programming teacher it is one of those simple ones that sees you spend 9 hours learning something or gets you to learn something covertly, I apologise if I have just made that task harder.

3. ### gifi4How am I a 'New Member'?

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Apr 21, 2010
Melbourne
Haha. No. No. No.
Definitely not what I'm after.

Let me try and word it a bit better. (Completely unrelated to programming xD)

Sorting alphabetically would be having 300 DVD's and sorting them like: Bad Santa, Bruce Almighty, Child's Play.
You know, alphabetically. Numbers would often be sorted before the letters as well.

Often in sorting arrangements, you see it set up as "0-9" and A-(Something).
So in the case of a file tree on a computer, it would look something like this:

C:\Movies\0-9\1408
C:\Movies\A-(Something)\American Pie

Or

C:\Games\A-(Something)\Age of Empires II

Now, my question refers to the name of this type of organisation method.

I also wish to know how the letters are split up (eg. A-D or A-L)

I worded this horribly and for that, I apologise.

4. ### BORTZTired of being the good guy

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Dec 2, 2007
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With the amount of dyslexia i have this is a large problem for me as well lol

5. ### FAST6191Techromancer

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Nov 21, 2005
Going back to computers for a moment it depends what OS you are using (unix derived ones will have the case of the letters in the name matter for instance) or even options within it- http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/88153-numerical-sorting-windows-explorer-enable-disable.html

Likewise there is no rule of maths or language that says start with numbers first - the closest you will ever get there is with number systems using a base greater than 10 will conventionally use letters to represent the numbers greater than 9 but that is just a matter of representation rather than anything deeper. The numbers first and then letters is something of an informal convention, though I am not sure from when that would have started (conventions do interesting things to languages, languages do interesting things to psychology and it only gets worse from there). A nice counterexample might be that morse code has numbers are fairly high levels of complexity.

Letter groupings- another arbitrary concept. There is often an underlying logic (usually either simple equal amounts of letters or weighted by how many entries each letter will or might probabilistically claim).

We are getting off topic somewhat.
If I understand what you are after you seek the name of the concept that sees you take the first letter to form a grouping and then move to the second and then so on to use as a grouping, ordering or sorting method. Trouble is this now gets even worse as the maths underpinning it all (order theory) comes into play and it is not a fun area of maths (it is half pure maths, half applied maths and has a very weird history). Lexicographical order is probably a good term (dictionary order is probably a synonym) though but it is more deeply rooted in maths than anything else, though speaking of maths even among mathematicians it is probably better to use a slightly long form explanation; to go back to your A-D example you might say "starting with the numbers first and ignoring case split the set into equally sized groups, any remainder being taken off the final group, and title them by the extremes of each group". The more linguistic, though still heavily mathematical, term for ordering methods in general is "collation".

In short it is all arbitrary but as people probably have to get something done at some point some conventions arose. There is crazy maths available if you want it but if you have to tell someone how to arrange your dvds then "standard alphanumeric", dictionary order or probably even alphabetical will suffice.

6. ### CharyNever sleeps.

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Oct 2, 2012
Most time, letters get split between A-M N-Z.