Wikipedia:Organizing disambiguation pages by subject area

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On large disambiguation pages, organizing by subject area helps readers find the page they want. Readers should be able to find their target article in one pass – narrowing down from sections to subsections to entries – without needing to re-read anything. Three principles enable that goal. This supplement also includes suggested headings. Guidance for individual entries is at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Disambiguation pages.

Contents

Principles[edit]

1. Clearly defined sections[edit]

The title of a section (or subsection) must make it clear what kinds of entries will be there, and all entries that fit in that section should be there. Also:

  • Choose subject areas that don't overlap. If overlap can't be avoided (e.g., record labels that fit under both "Music" and "Businesses"):
    • For single items: put duplicate entries in each appropriate section.
    • For multiple items (or whole subsections): put entries in one section, and put hatnotes in the other appropriate sections.
  • Don't merge distinct topics unless they are closely related: "Biology and medicine" is fine; "Cosmology and medicine" is not.
  • Always separate fictional entities from real ones.

2. Moderate section size[edit]

Long, unbroken pages are slow to read through to find the target entry. Pages with many tiny sections are also cumbersome to scan.

  • Sections with more than ten to twelve entries should usually be divided, if practical. Use judgment based on the particular page.
  • Sections with only one or two entries should usually be combined, often in an "Other uses" section.

3. "Other uses" below[edit]

Entries that are not fully categorized belong in an "Other uses" section at the end of the page or section (but before the "See also" section). These entries should never be placed at the top of the page or section (with the exception of a few significantly more common meanings, if they exist).

Also remember[edit]

  • Use ==Wiki headings==, not bold text or semicolon markup, for headings (see WP:PSEUDOHEAD).
  • Pages with four or more headings should always use {{TOC right}} above the first heading.
  • Typically order sections alphabetically, as this is the most obvious scheme for readers to recognize. Relative importance is usually too subjective.
  • The "See also" section is only for entries whose titles are related to, but not ambiguous with, the page title. It should always start with a ==Wiki heading==.

Example scheme[edit]

This scheme, or any part of it, may be used to organize disambiguation pages. Braces ("{}") suggest alternative terms, which may be split up and recombined in keeping with the principles above. Common pitfalls that may make dab pages harder to navigate are marked in red.

NOTE! These headings are an example only; most disambiguation pages will only use a few of these headings. They should be liberally modified, supplemented, and promoted or demoted to different header levels to best suit each particular page. Disambiguation pages are enormously varied, and another scheme may better suit a given page. (Note, though, that schemes not based on subject area, such as grouping entries by their formatting, or separating out acronyms or initialisms, can be confusing for readers and are usually avoided.)

Remember to remove visible braces ("{ }") and pipes ("|") before saving a dab page.

[Title] may refer to:

{Arts|entertainment|media}

[Avoid the word "culture" in this heading; it is very vague.]
[Sports-related entries are typically listed in "People", "Organizations", and/or "Sport", not here.]
[Technologies used in media and entertainment are typically listed in "Science and technology", not here.]
[If people or organizations in the arts are listed elsewhere, note this in a hatnote, e.g.: For people in arts and entertainment, see § People.]

Fictional {characters|elements}

[Useful if characters or elements appear in multiple types of media.]

{Film|radio|television|theater}

Gaming

{Literature|writing}

[Periodicals (newspapers, magazines, etc.) are literature!]
[Avoid the word "Print", which excludes digital written media.]

{Books|novels}

{Comics|magazines|newspapers|periodicals}

{Short stories|poems}

Music

{Artists|bands|groups|performers}

{Albums|symphonies|compositions}

{Songs|recordings|tracks}

Other media

{Businesses|organizations}

{Government|military|politics}

[Can break down by country]

{Schools|Universities}

[Can break down geographically or by academic level]

{Sports teams/organizations}

[If listed in a separate "Sport" section, note this in a hatnote]

Other {businesses|organizations}

[Can break down by industry]

{Economics|finance|law}

[For topics in economic science, a subsection of "Science" may be more appropriate.]

Language

[Do not list dictionary definitions; these should be handled with the {{wiktionary}} template.]
[For topics in linguistic science, a subsection of "Science" may be more appropriate.]

People

[Fictional characters should never be listed together with real people—they should be in an "Arts and entertainment" section if one exists.]
[People with the page title as part of their common name should typically be listed on an Anthroponymy page, such as Bob (given name), not a disambiguation page.]
[Groups of people such as ethnic groups, and titles shared by several people, should be listed separately from individuals.]

In {academia|science}

In {arts|entertainment|media}

[Can break down by type of media]

In business

In {government|military|politics}

In religion

Sportspeople

Other people

Places

[Can break down geographically, or separate into buildings, administrative entities (like cities and states), and natural formations]

{Religion|philosophy|mythology}

[If people in these fields are listed in a separate "People" section, note this in a hatnote.]

{Science|technology|mathematics}

[Avoid separating "science" and "technology", as they often have significant overlap.]
[If people in these fields are listed in a separate "People" section, note this in a hatnote.]

Natural sciences

{Astronomy|cosmology}

{Biology|medicine|organic chemistry}

{Chemistry|physics}

{Geology|Earth science}

{Psychology|sociology}

{Computing|electronics|telecommunication}

[Games and internet content belong under "Arts and media", not here, unless they deal with these topics specifically.]

{Mathematics}

{Military technology|weapons}

{Transportation|vehicles}

[If transportation topics are listed in a separate section, note this in a hatnote.]

Other uses in {science|technology|mathematics}

Sports

[Caution: This section may have significant overlap with "People" and "Organizations" sections; consider using them instead.]
[Can break down by sport, or separate into amateur, professional, and school sports]

Transportation

[Caution: This section may have significant overlap with "Science and technology", "Businesses and organizations", and "Places" sections; consider using them instead.]

{Airports|facilities|stations}

{Transit systems|Transportation companies}

Vehicles

[Often used for individual vessels, with types of vehicles listed under "Science and technology"]

{Air|space}

{Land|rail}

{Maritime|sea|ships}

Other uses

[Ambiguous entries that do not fit into another section. Entries that fit in another section, but not in any of its subsections, should be placed in an "Other uses in [topic]" subsection, not here.]

See also

[Entries that are related to, but not ambiguous with, the page title, that might reasonably help readers find what they are looking for, such as misspellings, similar words, and search templates like {{lookfrom}}, {{intitle}}, and {{canned search}}. Do not include every page that contains the ambiguous term.]