Re: DIN 5007, Swiss Sorting

From: A. Vine (
Date: Mon Mar 13 2000 - 17:50:47 EST

I wholeheartedly concur with Mark. The OED is not found much in the US,
therefore, it could hardly be considered to be recognized as common practice
here. My instinct is to look for lowercase before upper, although I could
certainly figure out the pattern if data were sorted the other way.

I put the question to the American Dialect Society. The general consensus was
that it was a matter of style. No-one so far has cited any authority, though
someone also cited the American Heritage Dictionary as having lower case
preceding upper. From the evidence presented, it looks as though the US English
dictionaries lean towards lower case first, whereas UK English, in the absence
of other information about the word, lean towards upper case first.

Nothing in IBM's "Keys to Sort and Search for Culturally Expected Results".
Having thumbed through my IBM books for the first time in a long time, can
anyone comment on the currency/accuracy of the cultural information provided in:

"Keys to Sort and Search for Culturally Expected Results", June 1, 1990
"National Language Support Reference Manual", May 1992, 3rd Edition
"National Language Design Guide", January 1991, 2nd Edition
"Common User Access Advanced Interface Design Reference", October 1991
"National Language Information and Design Guide - HEBREW", January 1988

I had forgotten what a gold mine of info was in these books (including a summary
of DIN 5007 from 1985), but am wondering if there have been too many changes
etc. for these to be useful.


Andrea Vine,, iPlanet i18n architect
Guilty feet have got no rhythm.
-- George Michael

Mark Davis wrote: > > The discussion on is not particularly convincing. Using outlines, pairs of letters written together (which would naturally follow titlecase convention), and history as evidence for collation order is a complete stretch. The only real evidence is provided by actual collation orders in practice. > > There, different sources vary quite a bit. The Concise Oxford Dictionary is not the only authority -- the English language does not (thank the gods) depend on a centralized authority like the French Academy. > > Mark > > Markus Kuhn wrote: > > > Michael Everson wrote on 2000-03-13 13:34 UTC: > > > > > > > Sounds convincing. You might add that ASCII ordering also did it always > > that way. > > > > Does DIN 5007 come with any rationale for its aA sorting order? If not, > > then I suggest that like any standard without proper rationale, it shall > > be doomed to remain ignored. This would be a good lesson for the authors > > of future standards who think that adding rationales is not necessary. > > Even if you simply tossed a coin to make an arbitrary decision when > > writing a standard, at least say that this was your decision criterion. > > With standards being revised and replaced by others frequently these > > days, the design rationale has often more long-term importance than the > > actual standard itself. > > > > Markus > > > > -- > > Markus G. Kuhn, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, UK > > Email: mkuhn at, WWW: <>

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