Wikipedia:Organizing disambiguation pages by subject area

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Readers should be able to navigate down to what they want in one pass, without having to read any more headings than necessary.

On large disambiguation pages, organizing by subject area helps readers find the page they want. Readers should be able to find their target with minimal reading, by skipping clearly irrelevant sections, and narrowing down to one section, then one subsection (if present), then a single entry, without having to read anything twice. This page discusses three principles that enable that goal, and suggested headings to use. Guidance for individual entries is at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Disambiguation pages.


1. Clearly defined subject areas[edit]

The title of each section must make it clear what kinds of entries it contains, and all entries that fit in that section should be there. Furthermore:

  • Pick subject areas that don't overlap. E.g., record labels fit under both "Music" and "Businesses", so if you have an entry for a record label, avoid using both those subject areas.
    • If overlap can't reasonably be avoided:
      • For one or two items that fit in multiple sections: duplicate these entries in each appropriate section.
      • For several items (or a subsection): put in only one section, and put a hatnote at the top of any other appropriate sections, e.g.: {{for|<topic>|#<Section>}}.
But, again, try to avoid creating overlap in the first place.
  • Only combine closely related topics. "Biology and medicine" is fine; "Cosmology and medicine" is not. "Other uses" is the exception.
  • Try to minimize the number of "other uses" entries – but not at the cost of making awkward or overly small sections.
  • Separate fictional entities from real ones.

2. Moderate section size[edit]

Choosing subject divisions that result in moderately sized sections minimizes the reading users need to do:

  • Sections with more than ten to twelve entries should usually be divided, if practical. Use judgment based on the particular page.
  • Sections with less than three entries should usually (and for only one entry, almost always) be combined, typically 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 any "See also" section).

The space above the first section on the page (or above the first subsection in a section) should not have any entries ("orphans"), except for:

And these entries should be repeated in the appropriate topic sections. "Loose" entries at the top of a page or section don't appear in the table of contents, and readers can easily miss them.


  • Use ==Wiki headings==, not bold text or semicolon markup, for headings (see WP:PSEUDOHEAD).
  • Use the "See also" section for entries whose titles are related to, but not strictly ambiguous with, the page title.
  • Order sections alphabetically unless there is a clear reason not to. (This is the easiest scheme to recognize – importance, for example, is usually too subjective.)

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 words like "(popular) culture" and "society"; they are too 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.]
[It may be useful to separate items with proper names (e.g. The Noise (band)) from generic terms (e.g. noise music).]

Fictional {characters|elements}

[Useful for characters or elements that appear in multiple types of media; otherwise, sort by medium as below.]



{Literature|writing} [Avoid the word "Print", which excludes digital written media.]



{Short stories|poems}



{Albums|symphonies|extended compositions}


Other media


{Government|military|political} organizations

[Break down geographically if needed]


[Break down geographically or by academic level if needed]

Sports {teams|organizations}

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

Other {businesses|organizations}

[Break down by industry if needed]


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


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


[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, unless there are only a small number of such people.]
[List groups of people (such as ethnic groups) and titles shared by several people separately from individuals.]

In {academia|science}

In {arts|entertainment|media}

[Break down by type of media if needed, though this may cause overlap with an "Arts and media" section]

In business

In {government|military|politics}

In religion


Other people


[Break down geographically, or separate into buildings, administrative entities (like cities and states), and natural formations, if needed]


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

{Science|technology|mathematics} [Avoid separating these topics, 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


{Biology|medicine|organic chemistry}


{Geology|Earth science}



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


[Some consider mathematics to be a science, some don't. If there are math topics here, it is advisable to include "mathematics" in the parent section title.]

{Military technology|weapons}

[May overlap with "Electronics" or "Transportation" subsections.]


[If transportation technologies are listed in a separate "Transportation" section, note this in a hatnote.]

Other uses in {science|technology|mathematics}


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


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


{Transit systems|Transportation companies}


[Often used for individual vessels, with types of vehicles listed under "Science and technology" instead; if so, note this in a hatnote.]


{Land vehicles|cars|rail vehicles|trains}

{Maritime vessels|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 there.]

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: search templates like {{lookfrom}}, {{intitle}}, and {{canned search}}; misspellings; and similar words. Use judgment; do not include every page that contains the ambiguous term.]