Public Services and Procurement Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional Links


Important notice

Writing Tips has been archived and won’t be updated before it is permanently deleted.

For the most up-to-date content, please consult Writing Tips Plus, which combines content from Writing Tips and The Canadian Style. And don’t forget to update your bookmarks!

To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

indexes: entry versus subentry

The indexer is constantly faced with the problem of whether to list references to a topic in a series of simple entries or as one main entry with a number of subentries. For example, references to the various types of statistical mean are scattered throughout a statistical work. They could be indexed in one large, complex entry:

  • Mean
    • arithmetic, 28
      • for grouped data, 29, 135
      • properties of, 29, 136–37
    • geometric, 31
      • for chained ratios, 32, 138
      • properties of, 31, 139–41
    • harmonic, 32, 142

Since the document is a specialized one, however, it makes more sense to create main entries for each type of mean, with a cross-reference (see INDEXES: CROSS-REFERENCES) from Mean, thereby obviating the need for sub-subentries and the repetition of page number references.

In general, avoid single subentries and sub-subentries. In the interest of conciseness, the complex entry

  • Spasticity
  • neonatal, inherited, 1046
  • periodic, inherited, 1046

can easily be reduced to

  • Spasticity, inherited neonatal and periodic, 1046