Index vs table of contents is a confusing issue for many students. A book, a research paper, or any other such document goes through a lot of different important processes and editing to become a product ready for the shelf and consumption. These documents need to make sense and be easily understandable, reference and all, to the readers.
Even a well-written and well-researched book become confusing if it’s not arranged in a sequential manner and doesn’t have a guide to help navigate the content.
In a book with a lot of facts or references and information, it is important that the reader is able to search for and easily find what he is looking for without him having to look up any other source, especially if the information is said to be somewhere within that book.
This is where formatting and arrangement come into play. Table of content and index are segments in a book or research paper that help a reader in navigating the book’s contents in an easy and efficient manner.
Table of Contents is that section of the book that entails how many chapters and what sections the book is divided into sequentially. Whereas the index of a book or paper contains further information about certain references made in the book.
Comparison Table: Index vs Table of Contents
|Criteria||Index||Table of Contents|
|Definition||An index is a list of pointers pointing to the keywords, key terms, and articles, authors referenced in the book.||A table of contents as it is usually referred to is a list of chapters with their heading and subheading along with page number that acts as a guide through the book for the readers.|
|Placement||It is placed at the end of the book and does not disturb the flow of the book.||t is placed at the beginning of the book to help readers search for their required contents.|
|Order||It is alphabetically and the terms or references appear||It follows the chronology set by the author. Therefore, it is chronological or sequential.|
|Additional pages||No additional pages are included here.||Additional pages other than the chapters are also included in the state of contents.|
|Objective||The index lists important pointers, keywords, and references along with page numbers.||The objective of a table of contents is to provide the contents of the book in brief.|
An index is characterized as a rundown of words or headings that are utilized as finders of helpful materials that are contained in a book or report. It tends to be a number of pages long as there are numerous significant things in the report that needs to be included in the index to make it more informational and inclusive.
A quality record ought to give a simple key to track down points, get references, or any term regarding the page number. It’s toward the end of the book and doesn’t meddle with the flow and arrangement of it. It tends to be effectively gotten to by turning every one of the pages.
The data is organized alphabetically, regardless of which chapter the information appears in and covers every principal part within the chapters that form the book. The length index can differ and relies upon the size and the number of chapters Ideally, 4-6% of the book pages are viewed as a decent length of an Index.
A good index contains indexes of authors, articles, references and follows conventional index practices. Different types of literary papers might have different types of indexing, like, web indexing scholarly paper index, magazine index, etc.
About Table of Contents
A table of contents, usually referred to as just “contents” in a book or report, is a page, sometimes comprising of 2 pages, which contains the data of the segments the book is separated in, therefore it contains the contents of the book.
It is a rundown of the sections covered with their starting page numbers set at the earliest reference point of the book before the preface and after the book title and the fundamental subtleties like the copyright page. It contains the title of each chapter. In a book containing various writers, the names show up on the table and assist the reader in looking up the content they are interested in.
The table of content is not arranged in alphabetical order but rather in the sequence the author has set which maintains the flow of the book. This also helps in identifying the chapters easily.
A table of contents is like the whole contents of the book compressed into a page or two. It helps the reader determine the quality of the book they are purchasing. It also helps the reader in revisiting a page with ease if they require it.
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Difference Between Index and Table of Contents
A table of contents or content as it is usually referred to is a list of chapters with their heading and subheading along with page number that acts as a guide through the book for the readers. An index is a list of pointers pointing to the keywords, key terms, and articles, authors referenced in the book.
As readers access the table of contents to navigate through the book, it is placed at the starting of it after the title page and copyright page. An index is placed at the end of the work so it doesn’t interior the flow of the book.
The writer or the editor sets the order of the table of content and it follows the chronology if the chapters set by the author. Index, on the other hand, is arranged alphabetically, regardless of which chapter the keyword or reference appears in.
Additional pages line glossary, index, and any other are included in Table of contents. No such additional page is included in the index.
The objective of a table of contents is to provide the contents of the book in brief. The index lists important pointers, keywords, and references.
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Naomi is an educator with 2 decades of experience working with children of all ages. She is a keen observer of the magic and importance of Maths in our daily lives. Follow me on Linkedin