Subject File Guide



Collection is a vertical file providing information on the company’s history, arranged by topic. Materials in this collection are usually photocopies rather than original documents.




  • Try not to use abbreviations or acronyms as subject headings; a notable exception is “HP.”
  • Keep headings as short as possible.
  • Document titles may be used as a subject heading, provided there is only one document in the folder;
  • Separate main heading from a sub-heading with a comma;
  • Try to limit use of qualifier-style sub-headings; geographic identification is a good use for a qualifier:

          Mayfield Site (Mountain View)

  • Use title case in subject headings and sub-headings:

          Computer History, General

  • “See” references are provided to direct users to an authorized subject heading;
  • See Also” references are used to suggest other folders/archives collections that might contain useful materials;
  • Alphabetization rules:

            “Nothing” files before something;

                        i.e. Trade Secrets  files before Trademark because of the space

            Identical headings file together, alphabetical by sub-heading; example:

          Palo Alto

          Palo Alto, History

          Palo Alto Civic Center

          Palo Alto Division

            Except for commas, ignore punctuation, treat as a space;

            Numerals file before letters;

            Ignore information in brackets;

            Words within parentheses (Qualifiers) should be considered when alphabetizing: again, ignoring the parentheses


  • Style has been simplified, one style chosen, Body Text Indent 2. This establishes a hanging indention style for the entire document, causing a wrap to take place unless you hit <enter> key.
  • Authorized headings are in boldface, with a colon indicating the end of the full heading.
  • Other (unused) headings are shown in italics, with a “See” reference indicating the authorized heading that should be used. For example:

Communications Industry

See  Telecommunications Industry

  • Entries preceded by (m) represent missing files, presumed available to us by contacting the HP archives.
  • All folders in physical collection should be represented by a separate entry in the Guide.
  • Key details about folder contents are separated by semicolons.
  • Entries in the Guide should be alphabetized, and in the same sequence as the corresponding folders in the collection.


  • Folders are set up with the subject heading at the far left. Some headings are followed by a word/phrase in brackets; this is additional information, should be ignored for purposes of alphabetization. For example:



  • Dates and other additional information may be added to the top right of the folder.
  • There are two kinds of cross references, and they are handled somewhat differently when added to folders.
  • “See” reference. To indicate a complete redirection from one (unused) heading to the authorized heading, use an empty folder to provide the information. The unused heading is at the top left, followed by the word “SEE,” then the authorized heading in all CAPS. It would look like this, on one line, at the top of the empty folder:

Communications Industry     See TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY

  • “See Also” reference. To indicate other places to check in the archives, suggestions may be added to the front upper left of the folder. For example:

See Also     Calendar, 1989

Fortune Magazine

                    Society of Manufacturing Engineers

          See Also     names of specific awards (i.e. Computerworld)