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 as easily as possible. This supplement includes principles of organization, and a suggested scheme. Guidance for individual entries is at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Disambiguation pages.

Contents

Principles[edit]

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. These principles enable that goal:

Clearly defined sections[edit]

The name of each section (or subsection) must make it clear what kinds of entries will appear there. For example, "Culture" is too vague; "Arts and entertainment" is better defined. Also:

  • Choose sections that don't intersect/overlap. If content unavoidably fits in more than one section (e.g., record labels that fit under both "Music" and "Businesses"):
    • For single entries: place in all appropriate sections.
    • For multiple entries (or whole subsections): place in one section, and place hatnotes in the other appropriate sections.
  • Don't combine distinct topics unless they are closely related: "Biology and medicine" is fine; "Cosmology and medicine" is not.
  • Always separate fictional entities from real ones.

Section size[edit]

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

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

"Other uses"[edit]

Entries that are not completely categorized should go in an "Other uses" section (or an "Other uses in [subject]" subsection) at the end of the page or section (but before the "See also" section). Uncategorized 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 keep in mind[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.
  • 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==.
  • It is usually a good idea to order sections alphabetically, as this is the most obvious scheme for readers to recognize. Relative importance is usually too subjective.

Suggested scheme[edit]

This subject-area scheme, or any part of it, may be used to organize disambiguation pages. Headings with braces ("{}") suggest alternative terms, which may be split up and recombined in accordance with the principles above. (Schemes not based on subject area, such as grouping entries by their formatting, or separating out acronyms or initialisms, can be confusing for readers.)

NOTE! These headings are a suggestion only; most disambiguation pages will only use a few of these headings. They should be liberally modified, supplemented, promoted or demoted to different levels, or dropped entirely, to best suit each particular page. Disambiguation pages are enormously varied, and another scheme may better suit a given page.

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

[Title] may refer to:

{Arts|entertainment|media}

[If people or organizations are listed elsewhere, note this in a hatnote, e.g.: For people in arts and entertainment, see § People.]
[Sports-related entries are typically listed in "People", "Organizations", and/or "Sport", not here.]
[Technologies used in media and entertainment are typically listed in a "Technology" section.]

Fictional {characters|elements}

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

{Film|radio|television|theater}

Gaming

{Literature|writing}

[Avoid "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}

Language

[Do not list dictionary definitions; these should be handled with the {{wiktionary}} template.]

People

[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. Anthroponymy pages themselves may be listed here.]
[Fictional characters should never be listed together with real people—they should be in an "Arts and entertainment" section if one exists.]
[Groups of people such as ethnic groups, and titles shared by several people, should be listed separately from individuals.]

In {arts|entertainment|media}

[Can break down by type of media]

In business

In {government|military|politics}

In religion

In {science|academia}

In sport

Other people

Places

[Can break down geographically, or separate into buildings, inhabited places, 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}

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

{Astronomy|cosmology}

{Biology|medicine|organic chemistry}

{Chemistry|physics}

{Computing|electronics|telecommunication}

[Games and internet content should be listed under "Arts and media" rather than here, unless they deal with these topics specifically.]

{Mathematics|statistics}

{Military|weapons}

{Psychology|sociology}

{Transportation|vehicles}

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

Other uses in {science|technology|mathematics}

Sport

[Caution: This section may have significant overlap with "People" and "Organizations" sections; if these are present, 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; if these are present, 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}

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.]