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Medical Indexes

Bruce McGregor

and Harriet S. Meyer

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Locators are the citations—commonly, page numbers in print indexes—that follow the entry to indicate where the material about that entry is found. Locators may also be paragraph numbers, line numbers, section numbers, volume-page number combinations, figure identifiers in atlases,8 hyperlinks in online indexes, etc. American Society of Indexers guidelines recommend that no more than 5 to 7 locators per term be given. When more than 7 locators accumulate under one heading (ie, 7 “undifferentiated locators”), the indexer should consider breaking them down under subheadings. This will produce a more usable index.11


SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), 18, 20, 75–79, 93,105, 117, 145–148, 167, 187–189, 235, 280, 357, 402


SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), 75–79, 145–148

 in China, 187–189

 drug therapy for

  antibiotics, 18, 20

  corticosteroids, 357

  interferon alfa, 402

 etiology of, 93, 105, 117

 quarantine for, 167, 235

 in Toronto, 280

Typographic variations on locators include bold for main discussions, t for tables (frequently used in medical indexes), f for figures, and others.

eczema, 24, 275f, 290-295, 294t

Explanatory notes are recommended when any typographic variation is used, for example, “Locators in boldface indicate main discussions. Those followed by t or f indicate tables and figures, respectively.” Such notes are most useful for the reader when they appear as running headers or footers (L. P. Wyman, email communication, February 19, 2004).

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