Main Difference – Index vs Contents
Index and contents are two sections in a book that help the readers to find the information they want. However, there is a difference between index and contents. The content page is at the beginning of a book and lists out the chapters and subchapters of the book sequentially. The index is at the end of a book and lists out the different topics and keywords in the book alphabetically. This is the main difference between index and contents.
This article looks at,
1. What is an Index? – Position, Structure and Content
2. What is a Contents Page? – Position, Structure and Content
3. Difference Between Index and Contents – Comparison of Position, Content and Structure
What is an Index
An index is found at the end of a book. It lists different topics discussed in the book. It can contain important names, places, phrases, and other keywords. It is important to note that indexes are only used in nonfiction books.
If you need to find a specific reference in a book, all you have to do is turn to the index page and find the relevant page number. The entries in an index are usually listed in the alphabetical order. Then you can scan that page for the information you need.
The index may spread over several pages; index is usually longer than a content page. Moreover, it is easier to find the information you need with an index.
What is Contents
Contents, also known as table of contents, content page, refer to a section that lists the chapters and subchapters in a book along with their page numbers. This information is usually listed in chronological order.
If you want to get a general idea of the content of the book, all you have to do is to skim through the contents. You can understand the general content of the book by looking at the contents of the book. This is why the table of contents is placed at the beginning of a book.
It is also important to note that both fiction and nonfiction books contain a content page. However, the content page is usually shorter than an index since it only contains chapters and subchapters.
Difference Between Index and Contents
Index is at the end of a book.
Contents are at the beginning of a book.
Type of Book
Index is usually found in nonfiction books.
Contents are found in both fiction and nonfiction.
Index lists the different topics and keywords.
Contents list chapters and subchapters.
Index is listed sequentially.
Contents are listed alphabetically.
Index is usually longer than the contents.
Contents section is shorter than an index.
Image of the Index (first page) from “Postcolonial Insecurities: India, Sri Lanka, and the Question of Nationhood” by Sankaran Krishna (University of Minnesota Press) 1999.
“The standard of excellence in Exhibition Poultry 1865, contents page” By William Bernhard Tegetmeier (editor) – (1865). The standard of excellence in Exhibition Poultry, authorized by the Poultry Club. London: Poultry Club; immediate: (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia