THE EDITOR, Sir:
We try to grow a little Blue Mountain coffee at Woodford and recently went through the exercise of registration. At the appointed hour, we appeared at Woodford Square to confirm that we were already registered as a grower.
The supervisor was very helpful, and remembered registering us three years earlier, and then checked immaculate computer-generated lists of growers.
I was dismayed when she proceeded to scan 54 sheets, each bearing 38-40 names, with her forefinger, unsuccessfully looking for my name. I asked about the foolscap sheets, only to learn that they displayed an ID number, first name, middle name, last name, alias, TRN, national ID, and address, but in no discernible order.
Rather than scanning all sheets with a finger which took several minutes, an alphabetic order of surnames would have allowed her to go immediately to the correct location.
The alphabet is a wonderful thing, and one of the great assets of computers is that, with a single keystroke, data can be placed in any desired order. The use of the alphabet would certainly have made registration a more efficient exercise, and is to be recommended.
use the alphabet
This also took me back to some of the volunteers helping in the clinic at the University Hospital of the West Indies where all records with surnames starting with 'A' went under 'A', without the added sophistication of filing by the second and then third letter.
Having used the alphabet for 70 years, it was only recently that I realised its origin from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha and beta. For those of us seeking improved efficiency, including the Coffee Industry Board, the use of the alphabet would help.