There is an article about that in Joshua Bloch's book. Fortunately it (older edition) is available free of charge here. Note that in newer editions the instruction to multiply by 37 has changed to multiply by 31. You can also find details by googling "angelika langer hashcode java" but that only helps if you can read German.
and thank you Campbell. i've been looking for something akin to this article for awhile. googling gives such " ",<insert expletive>,results that knowing what is true or correct leaves you at best concerned and at worst implementing bad practices. i'm reading the article now and it's by far the most comprehensible i've seen. again, thank you. take care.
Imagination is more important than knowledge "Albert Einstein"