4

Say you have a list containing:

some movie
some movie 2
the some movie
the third movie
another movie
the normal movie

By normal sorting the list would end up like:

another movie
some movie
some movie 2
the normal movie
the some movie
the third movie

However, I have seen some apps/websites that sort them like this:

another movie 
the normal movie
some movie
the some movie
some movie 2
the third movie

Basically sorting by ignoring the and sorting by the actual name and not "the". Some places I see does this with a and an too when it is first in the title.

My question: Which of these sorting methods are to prefer? Should they be sorted by the first letter no matter what, or should it take into consideration that things like the [x] doesn't have a "real" word (The cannot be said to be an object, action or describe the object - it defines whether it is a random or a specific item). So should the, a and an be ignored when sorting lists when it is the first word?

  • The title of this post is confusing. – Fernando Aug 17 '17 at 20:59
  • Edit it then... – Zoe Aug 18 '17 at 10:18
4

Look into "Stop Words":

Sometimes, some extremely common words which would appear to be of little value in helping select documents matching a user need are excluded from the vocabulary entirely. These words are called stop words

(I've also seen determiners, or articles).

The general strategy for determining a stop list is to sort the terms by collection frequency (the total number of times each term appears in the document collection), and then to take the most frequent terms, often hand-filtered for their semantic content relative to the domain of the documents being indexed, as a stop list

Read more here: https://nlp.stanford.edu/IR-book/html/htmledition/dropping-common-terms-stop-words-1.html

3

Depends on the context.

For proper nouns (ex: movie titles, music artists), it is best to sort by the most identifiable word in the string. For example, this list:

Django Unchained
The Dark Knight
The Incredibles
Ex Machina
500 Days of Summer

Would be sorted like so:

500 Days of Summer
The Dark Knight
Django Unchained
Ex Machina
The Incredibles

Where numbers and symbols precede alphabetic characters. This is convention because users naturally gravitate towards the significant part of the sentence, like "Incredibles".

For improper nouns and technical data, sort alphanumerically.

2

You could have 2 entry for the title:

  • a "short title" (without the leading "The") used on sorted list
  • a "long title" used on the movie detail page.

You will have a sorted list that will look like this:

  • another movie
  • normal movie
  • some movie
  • some movie
  • some movie 2
  • third movie

Alternatively, you could show the leading article like so:

  • another movie
  • normal movie, The
  • some movie
  • some movie, The
  • some movie 2
  • third movie, The

On the detail page, you would have the full title displayed.

The some movie 1

Description of The Some Movie...


This is a common pattern on printed encyclopedias and vocabularies. However, you should take into consideration that in some movie titles, the leading article is main part of the title itself, so you shouldn't remove it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.