See/See also: And the difference is?June 17, 2008
If you’re unsure of the differences between a see and a see also cross-reference in an index, here’s an explanation that may help:
- See: Refers you from an unused term to a used term. For example, ‘ornithology, see birds’ means that anything about birds in this document is listed under birds in the index, not under the more scientific term of ornithology. In the index, only birds has a page number reference.
- See also: Refers you to other used terms related to this one. These terms may be ‘siblings’ or ‘children’ of the parent term. For example, you may see ‘birds, see also reptiles’. Both terms are at an equal level, so are ‘siblings. However, ‘birds, see also eagles, flamingos, parakeets’ refer to terms that are narrower than the parent term birds, so are ‘child’ terms. All terms are listed in the index with their respective page number references.
[This article was first published in the September 2005 CyberText Newsletter.]