Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Organizing disambiguation pages by subject area

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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:

  1. Identifying the relevant section from level 2 headers, then
  2. Identifying the relevant subsection (if present) from level 3 (and deeper) headers, then
  3. Identifying the topic they want from the entries in that (sub)section

without having to descend into irrelevant sections, and 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

The title of each section must make it clear what kinds of entries it contains, and all entries that fall within that subject area must be there. Also:

2. Moderate section size

To minimize the reading users need to do on average, avoid both long, undivided sections, and lots of small sections:

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

3. "Other uses" below

Entries that are not fully categorized belong in an "Other uses [in topic]" 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:

  • At most one primary topic, if there is one, at the top of the page; and
  • A few significantly more
    common meanings
    , if they exist;

And these entries should be repeated in the appropriate 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.

If all the "other" entries in a section can be described by a plural noun, the words "uses in" should be avoided, e.g.: Other people, not Other uses in people; Other media, not Other uses in media.


  • Use ==
  • Put the table of contents before the first heading with {{TOC right}}.[note 1]
  • 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 order to recognize – importance, for example, is usually too subjective.)

Schemes to avoid

Organizing schemes not based on subject area can be confusing. Avoid organizing entries by etymology, pronunciation, or whether the items are acronyms or not – these schemes assume knowledge that the reader may not have.

Certain variations on the ambiguous term may be used to sort entries within sections, such as:

  • Formatting, such as capitalization
  • Plural vs. singular forms of a term
  • The presence of "a", "an", or "the" (or their equivalent in a foreign language) at the start of the title

but these should not usually be the basis for section divisions, particularly when a subject area scheme can be used instead. For more on sorting within sections, see


Example scheme

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.

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

[Title] may refer to:


[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 follows.]




[Avoid the word "Print", which excludes digital written media.]



{Short stories|Poems}



{Albums|Symphonies|Extended compositions}


Other media

[Such as painting or sculpture]


[An "organization" is generally accepted to mean any group of people formally organized for a purpose. If "Organizations" is used, and businesses, schools, sports teams, etc. are listed elsewhere, hatnote(s) are needed here.]

{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.]


[Caution: This section may have significant overlap with "Technology" and "Organizations" sections; consider using them instead.]


[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), names, and titles shared by several people separately from individuals.]

In {academia|science}

In {arts|entertainment|media}

[Break down by type of media if needed, but beware of overlap with an "Arts and media" section]

In business

In {government|military|politics}

In religion


Other people


[Break down geographically, or separate into buildings/facilities, populated areas (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.]


[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.]


[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.]

Natural sciences



{Geology|Earth science}

{Biology|Medicine|Biochemistry|Life sciences}



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

{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 other sections as noted below. If used, handle as described in § Clearly defined subject areas.]


[Overlaps with "Places".]

{Transit systems|Transportation companies}

[Overlaps with "Businesses and organizations".]


[May overlap with "Science and technology".]
[Often used for individual vessels (e.g. HMS Dreadnought (1906)), with types of vehicles (e.g. dreadnought) 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; see
. Use judgment; do not include every page that contains the ambiguous term.]


  1. ^ The {{TOC right}} template has no effect in the Vector 2022 skin, but affects users of older skins.

See also