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friends I have a question for you: a curator at MPOW wants to know why so many books have a letter underlined in the last name. They passed along the image below with G in Gladstone marked.

We haven’t been able to give him an answer, just that potentially it helped identify an author quickly. Do y’all have any thoughts or insights?

@elenarchivist I would guess that it has to do with identifying the surname for filing purposes. Your surname would be a great example--file under C or under M? I should be filed under T for sure because Kitchin is my middle name, but not everyone knwos that.

@platypus @elenarchivist It's hard to say without seeing their catalog records (if they have any) but I'd guess it was to tell the cataloger what to cutter under?

@TeamMidwest @platypus @elenarchivist @lemurchild Those definitely look like something I see more often in older books and in academic settings. I kind of love initials/marks older readers leave on title pages to remind themselves which Nora Roberts they've read.

@elenarchivist What @platypus said. I've run into issues to with Latinx surnames because many of them are doubled up. Like Gabriel Garcia Marquez should be shelved under G because his surname is Garcia Marquez. This isn't immediately obvious to a non-Spanish speaker, nor is it always obvious to someone who *does* speak Spanish.

Likewise, depending on the author's ethnicity, many cultures put the family name first. So in Japan, he's Murakami Haruki, and should be shelved under M.

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