The archivist found that the original order of the files and of the news cuttings within the files had been thoroughly disturbed but the existence of I.W.S.A. indexing rules has allowed accurate reconstruction. It should be remembered, however, that the I.W.S.A. did not always follow their own indexing rules to the letter and where non-compliance was apparently original, as in the case of an incorrectly allocated subject code or an incorrect but logical filing, the inconsistency has been retained, with cross references.
According to the `Plan of the Index' the news cuttings were filed under 12 main subject headings:
- B Population
- C Children
- D Drink
- E Education
- I Economic Conditions
- Ia Occupations
- L Legal Position of Women
- M Equal Moral Standard
- P War and Peace
- S Woman Suffrage
- V Voting Women
- W Women's Movement
Later another index letter, X, was introduced which took some of the cuttings which had previously been filed under P.
Within each main heading were a series of sub-headings, which can be found in the `Plan of the Index'; sub-headings were arranged alphabetically under their main heading. There were around 140 sub-headings.
News cuttings were also indexed by country. Except where a cutting refers to many countries or where the question of country is of no importance the news cutting mounts were supposed to record: main heading subject letter (eg S); sub-heading (eg Electoral Reform); and country (eg Great Britain).
In accordance with the `Rules for Making Index Cards', for index letters S, V and W the country was supposed to be entered in the first line and the subject heading in the second line - leading to the creation of country files - but for all other index letters the subject heading was to be given in the first line and the country in the second line - leading to the creation of subject files.
Thus for codes S, V and W the files are arranged first by country and then within that by subject classification whilst all other files are arranged first by subject classification and then by country.
According to the `Guide to Card Index and Cuttings File' "the headings (both subject headings and countries)...are arranged alphabetically except that subject headings beginning with agiven guide letter precede countries beginning with the same letter eg `C Maternity Assistance' precedes `China'".
Each file begins with cuttings which have just the initial heading or sub-heading and are then followed by those which are sub-headed by subject or country. Within each subject the archivist has placed cuttings in chronological order since this is the order in which they must have been collected. Any undated items appear at the end of the relevant classification section.
Where a file contains cuttings relating to a number of countries, unless otherwise stated, the majority of the cuttings usually relate to Great Britain followed by France, Germany and the U.S.A.