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Vocabulary Control 

Vocabulary Control
Medical Indexes

Bruce McGregor

and Harriet S. Meyer

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Vocabulary Control

An entity may be referred to by different names throughout a text. Such variation is common in multiauthor works.3 Cross-references, double-postings, and parenthetical synonyms help the reader know that the entity sought in the index is the same entity discussed under various names. Authors and editors should use vocabulary consistently and note synonyms in the text. The indexer should consult the book author or editor and the publisher’s book editor for clarification. The following example is adapted from Thomas9:

auditory nerve. See cranial nerve VIII

cranial nerves, VIII (auditory, vestibulocochlear), 781t, 782, 782t, 783t, 1870t

eighth nerve. See cranial nerves, VIII (auditory, vestibulocochlear)

vestibulocochlear nerve (cranial nerve VIII), 781t, 782, 782t, 783t, 1870t

Note that a reader who sought information under vestibulocochlear nerve would be helped by finding citations of pages discussing cranial nerve VIII. But the reader will fruitlessly skim the page for vestibulocochlear nerve, unless the term actually used on the page, cranial nerve VIII, is included in parentheses in the index entry.

The noneponymous name of a disease should be included in the index parenthetically after the eponymous index entry if the noneponymous name is used in the text2(see also chapter 16, Eponyms). Indexers should be cognizant of disease terms that are synonymous, are encompassing, or overlap,2,7 eg, nephric and renal,7 seizures and epilepsy.2 The following example is adapted from Thomas9:

Crohn disease, 152–155

inflammatory bowel disease, 149–159

ulcerative colitis, 155–159

Tullar recommends, “Whenever a disorder is cited by more than one name, … opt for the term used in the principal discussion and cross-reference from alternate terms. Double-post folios for a single discussion rather than cross-reference.”2(p54)

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