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Oracle9i SQL Reference
Release 2 (9.2)

Part Number A96540-02
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Sorting Query Results

Use the ORDER BY clause to order the rows selected by a query. Sorting by position is useful in the following cases:

The mechanism by which Oracle sorts values for the ORDER BY clause is specified either explicitly by the NLS_SORT initialization parameter or implicitly by the NLS_LANGUAGE initialization parameter. You can change the sort mechanism dynamically from one linguistic sort sequence to another using the ALTER SESSION statement. You can also specify a specific sort sequence for a single query by using the NLSSORT function with the NLS_SORT parameter in the ORDER BY clause.

See Also:

Oracle9i Database Globalization Support Guide for information on the NLS parameters