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.]


  1. […] indexers can see the relationships between terms, which become ‘see‘ and ‘see also‘ cross references. For example, a human indexer knows that a flamingo is a bird and that a macaw is a bird. My guess […]

  2. […] any kind) just don’t have this sophistication at the moment. A good indexer can create “see” references from unused terms to used terms, and “see also” references to simi…. Complex indexes also refer users to broader and narrower […]

  3. I want the meaning of see,see also but im seeing a different thing here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: