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Blackboard Help

Name Format and Sort Order in Language Packs

The default name sorting is based on the en_US language pack, and accommodates names such as "Cindy Williams." Depending on the locale, the default name format and sorting will not meet the needs of the users. Some locales have names such as "Derek Van de Trak," and without modifying the sort order the name will be sorted by "Trak" rather than by "Van de." The name sorting order is modified using the language pack editor.

The language pack editor allows the user to select and edit one locale bundle at a time. A locale bundle is a file that consists of a set of related text strings. For example, the file includes text strings related to the user's information. When a locale bundle is opened in the language pack editor, the original text appears alongside the editable text. The original text remains on the page as a reference once the text string is translated, so users may always refer back to it.

Label the name fields

Only copied and imported language packs may be edited in the language pack editor. After copying the language pack and renaming it so that the integrity of the original is maintained, it may be edited.

  1. Select Language Packs on the Administrator Panel.
  2. Select Edit in the language pack's menu.
  3. Accept the Terms of Use and select Submit.
  4. Select Edit from the menu for the text file.
  5. Use the Hide/Show Comments option to choose whether or not to display comments included in the locale bundles. If turned on, these comments appear in the Reference Language column and provide descriptive information about the text strings.
  6. Use the Reference Language drop-down list to select a different Reference Language. The system default automatically appears, but translators may change this at any time.
  7. Add the new text for each string in the appropriate field in the Edit Text column.
  8. Select Submit. All content in the New Language column is saved.

What settings to edit

  • Edit the wording associated to the lastname.default_display_title, and lastname.display_title text strings to indicate to the user that in a name of "Derek Van de Trak", this is the location where "Van de" is entered.
  • Edit the wording associated to the suffix.default_display_title, and suffix.display_title text strings to indicate to the user that in a name of "Derek Von Trak", this is the location where "Trak" is entered.
  • Edit the wording associated to the othername.default_display_title, and othername.display_title text strings to indicate the use of the new name option at your institution.

Using the file

After downloading the language pack from the catalog, unzip the Language pack and use a text editor to modify the file, then zip up the language pack and import it to your server. If the language pack was placed onto the server using another method, you will require access to the files on the server itself to modify the file.

When looking at the following file, it is important to understand the name values and the numbers associated to those name values.

  • 0 - Title
  • 1 - First Name
  • 2 - Middle Name
  • 3 - Last Name
  • 4 - First Initial of First Name
  • 5 - Other Name
  • 6 - Suffix

Using the number associated to the various name identifiers, the file can be set to sort names by any method necessary. The number associated to the name value is placed in a curly bracket, when mentioned in the file. For example, when using the Title field, place a {0} in the file in the location to meet the needs of your locale. The following is an example of an en_US file.

# Which name column should be used to sort when sorting a full name

# Valid values - one of: title, givenName, middleName, familyName, otherName, suffix


# Order for name columns in inventory lists (not all columns may be shown, but the ones that are will be in this order)

# All 6 fields (title,familyName,givenName,middleName,otherName,suffix) must be present


# for these items, you will get an array in the following order:

# new String[]{ strTitle-0, strGivenName-1, strMiddleName-2, strFamilyName-3, InitialForGivenName-4, strOtherName-5, strSuffix-6 }

# use the appropriate values for the given locale




# Surname with any other info needed (e.g. the surname prefix in Dutch)

# This will be used whenever the surname is displayed on its own.



LOCALE_SETTINGS.LONG={0} {1} {2} {3}



#First_Initial Last_Name