Register (reference work)

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A register (also an index or index ) is the tabular listing of all important units of a collective with reference to their position in the collective. (Examples: names of the participants in a telephone network and phone number, names of the people mentioned in a book and the page number).


Indexes in books (or specialist journals ) are used to make the work accessible to the reader quickly. While a table of contents , which is usually at the beginning of the book, systematically reproduces the structure of the book, the alphabet is the sole classification criterion for an index . The register can be found in the appendix, i.e. at the end of the book.

Keyword indexes often consist of a main keyword to which various sub-keywords are assigned. The respective keyword is supplemented by the relevant reference. This is the page or the section of text marked by a margin number where the keyword occurs.


Often there are also references to other terms in indexes. References to synonymous terms make it easier for the user to find them.

Examples :

  • Temporary work: see temporary employment
  • Tram: see tram

There are also see references. These refer to similar, subject-specific superordinate or subordinate terms or to further terms.

Examples :

  • Deutsche Bahn AG: see also Reichsbahn
  • Vacation: see also parental leave .

Other types of indexes in a book are glossaries , indexes, and bibliography .

Importance of registers in books

"A register without a book was sometimes useful to me, a book without a register never."

Specialist books from England or the USA often have extensive registers, while registers in Germany are viewed as less important and are therefore often left out. Often one restricts oneself to a register of persons .


Antonio Zara (* 1574), Bishop of Petina, added an index to his encyclopedia Anatomia ingeniorum et scientiarum (Venice 1614). Before him, Peter Schöffer and Johannes Fust published a work by Augustine as early as 1467, which contained an index.

See also


  • Robert Collison: Encyclopaedias. Their history throughout the ages: A bibliographical guide with extensive historical notes to the general encyclopaedias issued throughout the world from 350 b. C. to the present day. Hafner, New York, NY / London 1964, p. 85.
  • Horst Kunze : About registering. 4th, expanded and improved edition. Saur, Munich a. a. 1992, ISBN 3-598-11090-1 . ; Reprint De Gruyter, Berlin, ISBN 978-3-598-11090-0 .
  • Helmut Zedelmaier: Reading books using the Index search system. In: Text Arts. Book revolution around 1500. Edited by Ulrich Johannes Schneider . Philipp von Zabern, Darmstadt 2016, ISBN 978-3-8053-5027-3 , pp. 180-183.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Ludwig Reiners: Stilkunst. A textbook of German prose. Beck, Munich 1991, p. 509, ISBN 3-406-34985-4 .
  2. Steven Johnson : The Counterrevolution of Electronic Books ( January 10, 2011 memento on the Internet Archive ) . In: Financial Times Deutschland of January 9, 2011.