Wikipedia:Naming conventions (lists)


Long stand-alone list articles are split into subsequent pages (alphabetically, numerically, or subtopically) to adhere to the Wikipedia guideline on article size.

Basic naming


A common practice is to entitle list articles as List of ___ (for example List of Xs). If (as is often the case), the list has multiple columns and so is in layout table form, the name or title List of Xs is still preferable to Table of Xs or Comparison of Xs (though the latter may be appropriate for articles that are actual tables of data comparing numerous features, e.g. Comparison of Linux distributions). For multi-page lists (a.k.a. "long lists"), see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (long lists).

A list of lists of X could be at either Lists of X or at List of X: e.g., Lists of books, List of sovereign states; the plural form is more prevalent.

The title is not expected to contain a complete description of the list's subject. Many lists are not intended to contain every possible member, but this does not need to be explained in the title itself. For example, the correct choice is List of people from the Isle of Wight, not List of people who were born on or strongly associated with the Isle of Wight and about whom Wikipedia has an article. Instead, the detailed criteria for inclusion should be described in the lead, and a reasonably concise title should be chosen for the list. Best practice is to avoid words like notable, famous, noted, prominent, etc. in the title of a list article. Similarly, avoid titles like List of all Xs.

  • People: People by nationality are either List of Finns or Lists of French people, preferring List of ___ people. United States folk are a special case: List of United States people redirects to Lists of Americans which contains, amongst other things, lists by US state. (Special treatment is necessary because American is ambiguous.) Note, however, that lists of people organized by individual city should be at List of people from [city], rather than List of [city] people. In all relevant lists, people is far preferred to alternatives such as persons or individuals.
  • Language: Poets and authors listed by language are at, for example List of German-language poets (see List of poets for the list-of-lists of them).
  • Fiction and real life: List of fictional dogs is a list of fictional creatures, whereas List of individual dogs is a list with real-life examples. Note that the lead section of each list explains what criterion or criteria that list's entries meet.

Set index articles do not need to be titled with list of unless there is also another article or a disambiguation page using that title. For example, Dodge Charger is a list of cars named Dodge Charger, but does not need to be titled List of cars named Dodge Charger. However, since Signal Mountain is a disambiguation page, the related set index article is at List of peaks named Signal Mountain.

Three other special lists types have their own naming patterns. Glossaries are usually titled Glossary of X or Glossary of X terms, though if they contain substantial non-list prose about the nature or history of terminology relating to the topic, as well as a glossary list, a title such as X terminology may be more appropriate. Timelines are named in the form Timeline of X or Graphical timeline of X. Outlines are named Outline of X or Outline of Xs.

Long (split) list naming recommendations


Several styles have been used. As indicated below, the preferred style is "List of foos: A" (for numeric divisions "List of foos: 1") and for ranges "List of foos: S–Z" (numeric: "List of foos: 1–20"). Complicated formats like "List of foos: X, Y, Z" or "List of foos: U–W, Y–Z" for short ranges are discouraged, and are certainly too unwieldy for long ranges. It will be difficult for readers to guess at such names (while "List of foos: A–M" and "List of foos: 1–20" strongly imply "List of foos: N–Z" and "List of foos: 21–40", respectively).

If the preferred style is not used, redirects should be created from the preferred-style article names to the actual article names, as readers will come to expect an article to be at the preferred name rather than a variant.

When ranges are expressed, do so with the en-dash (–) character, not a hyphen (-), em-dash (—), minus (−) or other similar character, nor the – HTML character entity, in the article titles. Redirects should be created from the hyphenated versions of the article names to the real locations, as not all readers are aware of, or have the keen eyesight to see, the difference and may not be able to easily enter the en-dash character.

The most common methods of splitting a long list into multiple sub-articles are by ranges of letters of the alphabet (or by individual letters for very long lists), by numerical ranges (or individual numbers for very long lists), or by some kind of topical division, such as geography, field, language, etc.

Models (see examples below)

Preferred:

  • List of foos: A–K
  • List of foos: 1–9
  • List of foos: A
  • List of foos: 1
  • List of foos: Africa
  • List of foos: Physics
  • List of foos: Africa and the Middle-east
  • List of foos: Physics and chemistry

Avoid splitting into separate articles per letter or numeral, unless using larger groupings would still produce overly large articles.

Common and acceptable (variants not shown):

  • List of foos, A–K
  • List of foos (A–K)
  • List of foos – A–K
Note: That is an en-dash, not a hyphen; a version of the name with a hyphen should exist as a redirect to the real page.

Deprecated as ambiguous, hard to read, or longwinded (variants not shown):

  • List of A foos
  • List of foos A–K
  • List of foos:A–K
  • List of foos starting with A–K
  • List of foos/A–K
Note that the subpage feature is disabled in main namespace.
Examples

Special cases

In some situations, the subject matter does not lend itself to such simple nomenclature, and other schemes may be devised on a case-by-case basis. Some examples might even be considered "problematic" (though a supposed "ideal solution" might not be immediately apparent, either).

Examples
  • The sub-articles of List of symphonies by number have been merged with disambiguation pages, as Symphony No. 1, etc. Overly-rigid interpretation of this guideline and Wikipedia:Stand-alone lists might have resulted in names like List of numbered symphonies: 1, but this obviously would not have been helpful for readers.
  • List of compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach contains a large number of Bach's works, while others of various classes are listed in separate sub-articles, and it even includes several works not composed by Bach in both the main list and its sub-lists. Most of the problems experienced with this list primarily result from its being a hybrid "by genre" and "by number" list. Possible improvements include consistent inter-page navigation, such as a multi-page table of contents (see examples below) or navboxes; using identical links connecting the pages on each page; making related partial lists (Bach compositions printed during the composer's lifetime, etc.) readily available from the general lists.
  • Fiction and franchises: A large number of TV show articles have sub-articles in the form of multi-page season summary lists, and there are also list articles that are lists of works by a particular author or which form part of a media franchise. Various other guidelines assert scope over such articles, including Wikipedia:Manual of Style (lists of works), Wikipedia:Naming conventions (television), etc. These guidelines do not always seem to be in perfect agreement, but overall de facto-standard patterns have emerged. For example, TV show season lists are named in the form "Show title (season 1)", although the present guideline would have preferred "Show title: season 1" (the use of colons in the titles of works to indicate a subtitle, as in Star Trek: The Next Generation, is a likely reason for this variance). If in doubt, seek input on the matter at Wikipedia talk:Naming conventions (long lists) and/or at the talk pages of relevant wikiprojects.

Generic templates


Template:Compact ToC
Navigational template: See template documentation for syntax. {{Compact ToC}} can be used in several different ways for creating custom tables of contents for split list articles, including ranges and one-page-per-letter setups. The template supports many additional features, including sections for numeric and symbol entries, configurability of layout, and links for standard (References, etc.) or custom sections.
{{Compact ToC|name=List of foos|center=yes|side=yes|n=[[List of foos: N–Z#N|N]]|o=[[List of foos: N–Z#O|O]]|...|z=[[List of foos: N–Z#Z|Z]]}}
Example showing every letter, with links directly to sub-article sections:
{{Compact ToC|center=yes|side=yes|n=[[List of foos: N–Z| N–Z (next page)]]|o=|p=|...|z=}}
Example showing each letter for this sub-article, and a range for the next one, with a link to that next article's top:
Examples of list subpages: List of foos: A, List of foos: N–Z, List of foos: North America, or whatever is desired
Template:A-Z multipage list
Navigational template: {{A-Z multipage list|name}}:
Example with name = List of foos; cat = Foos; cat sort key = Foos, List of:
Example of list subpage: List of foos: A
Note: this template has built-in categorization; in the actual rendered example here, the categorization features were omitted to prevent this guideline page from being improperly categorized.

Migration strategy


There is no obligatory migration strategy to convert all multi-page lists to the preferred style. However:

  • When starting a new multi-page list (or splitting an existing list into several pages), consider if adoption of the preferred style is possible; if not, try to keep as close to it as possible, and create redirects from the names expected by this guideline to the actual page names.
  • For existing multi-page lists: if there's no apparent reason against it such as established consensus at the article's talk page, recommendations of other, topic-specific guidelines like Wikipedia:Naming conventions (pieces of music), etc. the list should be migrated. Please note that this often entails a great deal more than simply moving the pages, as the table of contents/navigation templates will have to be updated, many links may refer to the original names of pages, and utility templates (e.g. {{Cuegloss}}) may depend upon the original names.

See also