Table of contents

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Logo of the German Institute for Standardization DIN 1426
Area documentation
title Contents
Brief description: Overview of the document content
Latest edition 1988-19

A table of contents or summary is an overview of the essential content of a text or film. Common forms of table of contents are the table of contents , the abstract and other forms of documentary presentations . The English term summary is also common in scientific papers . The table of contents is standardized in the DIN standard DIN 1426.

As a coherent text (not in bullet or list form), the table of contents is also an important school writing form. In contrast to a view based on product standards (see above), the rendering of content in school, especially in German lessons, is process-oriented and functional: similar to retelling, but with different linguistic means and in a more concise form To “reformulate” texts in the table of contents that should be understood and discussed. This requires both cognitive and linguistic performance, the independence of which is often underestimated: the table of contents is one of the demanding formats of written performance reviews.

In contrast to a résumé or conclusion or a review , the contents - in normative terms - should not contain any interpretations or evaluations. In contrast to retellings , the contents should still not contain any suspense. In addition, there must be no verbatim speech. An analysis of contents from a didactic perspective, as done by Abraham, for example, contradicts these standard specifications: According to this, a table of contents is “never 'objectively neutral'. She always evaluates ”; moreover, it has always contained “implicit interpretations”.

Contents are usually written in the present ( present tense , in the case of prematurity in the perfect tense ). Since the table of contents is shorter than the original text, you must inevitably leave out parts of the content. They can serve as a means of subject indexing . The table of contents of a book , a dissertation or the like usually has half a page to one page. It should present the most important results and methods used in general (not too special) technical language .

In the school table of contents, the actual main part is preceded by a basic sentence that names the topic; so not the actual text content, but what the author is about. The main part is followed by a short final part, a conclusion in which, unlike the main part, an assessment is not only allowed but also desired.

Synopsis of movies is also called synopsis .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Ulf Abraham , Martin Fix: Reproduce content. Process information - reformulate texts . In: Praxis Deutsch 197. 2006. pp. 6–15.
  2. Thomas Zabka: Texts on texts as formats for written performance reviews: retelling, table of contents, analysis, interpretation and related tasks . In: M. Kämper-van den Boogaart / KH Spinner (ed.): German lessons in theory and practice, Vol. 11: Reading and literature lessons. Part 3 . Schneider Verlag Hohengehren, Baltmannsweiler, pp. 60–88.
  3. a b Ulf Abraham : Readings - Types of writing. Forms of reproduction and discussion of literary texts. Klett, Stuttgart 1994.