Re: Tables of contents, figures, and of tables

Subject: Re: Tables of contents, figures, and of tables
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2014 06:01:34 -0400

On Sun, 23 Mar 2014 23:51:43 -0400, Haim Roman <haim -dot- roman -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

Is there widely understood term for these 3 types of tables, which also
distinguish them from tables that appear in the body of a document?

In my opinion, only the table of contents is necessary. It gives the reader an overview of the document. The other two (which might be called List of Figures and List of Tables) could be needed where one expects the reader to refer frequently to various tables or figures without reading the text of the document.

I can imagine a book in which one chapter might consist mostly of figures, and which would contain an annotated table, listing the figures and explaining the differences among them. That table of figures would belong in the chapter, not at the front or back of the book.

For a new document you should evaluate the needs of the readers, by interviewing them or by testing various designs. Ask them, "What do you think of having a 'Table of Tables' on this page? Is it helpful? Should I call it a List of Tables? What would you prefer to see?" Will they access the book in printed form, or through an electronic device with a searching facility?

For a revision, or for a new document within an existing set, follow the existing plan. If a military or industrial standard requires a 'Table of Tables' (even if it has only a single entry!) don't fight it. Put in a 'Table of Tables'. If you feel ambitious, join the committee that oversees the standards.
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Tables of contents, figures, and of tables: From: Haim Roman

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