Sort names. why do we need this?

I’m thinking about this for a while now and I can’t find any reason why this kind of 20th century kind of sorting is useful in modern day databases. Can somebody explain the benefit of it?

I agree. I conducted a couple of trials and this database searches perfectly without adding weird and wonderful sort names. The feature appears to be redundant.

One of the options on my music player is to have artists sorted last name first.
THAT is why we have that option.

Also, things like Sammy Davis Jr.
Is he to be sorted as Davis or Jr.
Again, THAT is why we have that option.


If that is the point of the sort function then only two forms can be listed. To use your example: Sammy Davis Jr. and Davis Jr., Sammy. Yes, I can see that might be useful for the names of individuals.

I do question whether the sort function is required for publication titles. I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to display book titles in any other manner than their original form, e.g. Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? vs. Evans?, Why Didn’t They Ask. Unless you are into idiosyncratic syntax.

You’re right, sort names are mostly useful for authors. Many titles of publications don’t need a sort name, just press the copy button in these cases. The sort name of “Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?” is simply “Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?”.
But there are cases where the sort name for titles is useful, namely all titles starting with an article: The Lord of the Rings has a sort name of “Lord of the Rings, The” which is helpful if there are e.g. different editions that have or omit the leading “The”.


After I posted my comment it did dawn on me that titles beginning with “The” could benefit from a sort name variation, so I concede the function does have its uses. Thanks for the replies.


Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the cursed Child
Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets

they become
Half Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the
Cursed Child, Harry Potter and the
Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the

Also, worth noting, it is Davis, Sammy, Jr.
Not Davis, Jr., Sammy


That is quite correct!