Archive for April, 2011

Cross-References in an Index

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Cross-reference refers to internal index navigation guides. These guides generally take the form of See or See also. The See cross-reference performs a vocabulary control function. It directs readers from a term not used in the index to a term that is used:

cars. See autos

See references direct a reader from, for example, an informal term to a technical one, a pseudonym to a real name, an inverted term to a noninverted one, or vice versa.  They are also used for variant spellings, synonyms, aliases, abbreviations, and so on.  The choice of the term under which the full entry appears depends largely on where readers are most likely to look.   The Chicago Manual of Style recommends that See references should therefore be given only where the indexer believes many readers might otherwise miss the full entry.

The See also cross-reference directs readers to closely related index entries:

digital photography, 2, 10. See also image-processing software

The primary function of a See also cross-reference is to guide users to related and additional information at another heading.  See also cross-references may be “two-way” as shown below:

  • drug trafficking. See also narcotics
  • narcotics. See also drug trafficking

I will explore cross-references further in the next post.  For more information about the services provided by the author of this blog, see the Stellar Searches LLC website,