Professional and Technical Writing/Design/Back Matter

Back Matter: Appendices, Glossaries and More edit

Back Matter is an important part of a professional business document, and any other long document. It may contain one or more of the following: appendices, bibliography, works cited, reference list, end notes, glossary, list of symbols, or indices. These elements are used for citing sources, giving definitions to uncommon words, and giving the reader a list of topics and where they are in the document. All may not be read by every reader, but they are still important parts to include. Back Matter is for the reader that wants to know more. You may decide to add more or less to a document depending on the situation.

How back matter strengthens a document:

  • Guides readers to the information they need
  • Expands on the information in the document
  • Leads readers to other documents on the topic

Appendices edit

Appendices are used to give more detailed information about a specific topic that was not included in the main body of the paper. Appendices are for giving extra information to your reader that doesn't need to be in the main body of the document. This is not necessary information, but some readers may find it interesting or useful depending on their profession or context for reading your report. In the body of the documents there will be a reference that will lead interested reader's to the added information. Appendices can also be an easy way to find reference materials in a more direct fashion. A series of titles that correspond to the references in the body are listed at the back of the document. Other uses of an appendix sometimes accompanies a figure located the paper. Also, appendices may contain calculations used for derivations given in the body of the document.

The appendix should be given its own section in a document and should be labeled "Appendix" at the top. Each appendix should be included in the table of contents. If there are multiple appendices they should be arranged in such a way that they correspond with the order they appear in the text of the paper. Each new appendix should start on a new page. The appendices should also be labeled in a way that shows order. For example, they can be labeled: Appendix A, Appendix B, Appendix C or Appendix I, Appendix II, Appendix III, also Arabic numerals are acceptable. This way, when finding information, it should be easy to navigate from the body of the paper to the appendix, and vice versa.

Example of what can be found in an appendix:

  • Calculations
  • Data analysis
  • Graphs
  • Figures
  • Photographs
  • Maps
  • Surveys
  • Personal reflection
  • Interviews

Reference List, Endnotes, Bibliography edit

These elements are used to cite the information used to write the document. It is very important to always cite initial sources of information. Books, magazine articles, authored web pages, and other print materials are most commonly used to gather information. The reference list, endnotes, and bibliography are put at the very end of a document.

Bibliography edit

Bibliographies are used to reference the sources used in document. They are found at the end of any document. Any reference used in the document should be documented in the bibliography. They are written in the form of a list, some being numbered while others are in alphabetical order. This allows readers to look up more information on the topic and shows that the information used is credible. All types of work can be in a bibliography, including: websites, books, articles, magazine, newspapers, speeches, interviews, videos, blogs, and many more.

There are many different formats that can be used when creating a bibliography. One of the most common styles used in scientific documents is APA, which is discussed later on this page. However, all documentation styles require some of the same information. Bibliography citations should include:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Publisher
  • Date of publication

Citations can be easily inserted into documents with the reference tool included in Microsoft Word and many other word processors. This tool allows you to insert information about a source into a simple form and insert a bibliography. The tool will automatically format the information according to the style chosen by the user.

Endnotes edit

Endnotes must be listed numerically both in your document and in your endnote citation. Each endnote should have a new number, even if you had previously listed that same citation earlier in the document. Endnote numbers must be superscripted. In your text, add a superscripted number immediately after the quote or reference cited with no space. Endnotes must be added on a separate Endnotes or Notes page at the end of your document just before the Works Cited or Bibliography page. Here is an example of a text with endnotes and the endnote citation:

Text Example edit

The Many Facets of Taboo: The World Book Encyclopedia defines Taboo as "an action, object, person, or place forbidden by law or culture."1 An encyclopedia of the occult points out that taboo is found among many other cultures including the ancient Egyptians, Jews and others.2 Mary Douglas has analyzed the many facets and interpretations of taboos across various cultures. She points out that the word "taboo" originates from the Polynesian languages meaning a religious restriction.3 She finds that "taboos flow from social boundaries and support the social structure."4 In reference to Freak Shows at circuses, Rothenberg makes the observation that people who possess uncommon features and who willingly go out in public to display such oddities to onlookers are acting as "modern-day taboo breakers" by crossing the "final boundary between societal acceptance and ostracism."5 In traditional British East Africa, between the time of puberty and marriage, a young Akamba girl must maintain an avoidance relationship with her own father.6 Looking at taboo in a modern society, Marvin Harris gives an interesting example of the application of cultural materialism to the Hindu taboo against eating beef.7

Endnote Example edit

1 Alan Dundes, "Taboo," World Book Encyclopedia. 2000 ed. 2 "Taboo," Occultopedia: Encyclopedia of Occult Sciences and Knowledge, Site created and designed by Marcus V. Gay, 18 Jan. 2005 < t/taboo.htm>. 3 Mary Douglas, "Taboo," Man, Myth & Magic, ed. Richard Cavendish, new ed., 21 vols. (New York: Cavendish, 1994) 2546. 4 Douglas 2549. 5 Kelly Rothenberg, "Tattooed People as Taboo Figures in Modern Society," 1996, BME / Psyber City, 18 Jan. 2005 <>. 6 Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo (New York: Random, 1918) 17. 7 Marvin Harris, "The Cultural Ecology of India’s Sacred Cattle," Current Anthropology 1992, 7:51-66, qtd. in McGrath, "Ecological Anthropology," Anthropological Theories: A Guide Prepared by Students for Students 19 Oct. 2001, U. of Alabama, 18 Jan. 2005 <>.

Reference List edit

The reference list should appear at the end of a paper. It provides the information necessary for a reader to locate and retrieve any sources cited in the body of the paper. Each source cited in the paper must appear in your reference list; likewise, each entry in the reference list must be cited in your text.

References should begin on a new page separate from the text of the essay; label this page "References" centered at the top of the page (do not bold, underline, or use quotation marks for the title).

Basic Rules according to the APA style:

•All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. This is called hanging indentation.

•Authors' names are inverted (last name first); give the last name and initials for all authors of a particular work if it has three to seven authors. If the work has more than seven authors, list the first six authors and then use elipses after the sixth author's name. After the ellipses, list the last author's name of the work.

•Reference list entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author of each work.

•If you have more than one article by the same author, single-author references or multiple-author references with the exact same authors in the exact same order are listed in order by the year of publication, starting with the earliest.

•When referring to any work that is not a journal, such as a book, article, or Web page, capitalize only the first letter of the first word of a title and subtitle, the first word after a colon or a dash in the title, and proper nouns. Do not capitalize the first letter of the second word in a hyphenated compound word.

•Capitalize all major words in journal titles.

•Italicize titles of longer works such as books and journals.

•Do not italicize, underline, or put quotes around the titles of shorter works such as journal articles or essays in edited collections.

Glossary or List of Symbols edit

Glossary edit

In writing, especially professional documents, you will be using words that are unfamiliar with your reader. If an unfamiliar word in your text is used a minimal amount of times you can describe the meaning right next to the usage. When you use unfamiliar words throughout the entire text, you must place a definition in the glossary because it can get quite repetitious to continue to state the definition throughout the entire text. In professions, ie: the sciences, your readers may not understand the definition to fancy scientific terms. Using a glossary enables you to provide a definition that readers can easily locate if they need to.

List of Symbols edit

Similar to unfamiliar words, they are unfamiliar symbols used in professional writing. If the symbols are used throughout the whole document a list of symbols should be put in the back of the document. When creating a list of symbols, it should be easy to navigate through. Some ways to promote easy navigation is by listing the symbols in alphabetical order. Also you want to create the list of symbols in two columns, the left column should be the symbol and on the right column should correspond to the letter and be the definition or meaning of the symbol.

Index edit

An index is a useful communication technique used when your writing is too long for your readers to skim through quickly. An index gives your readers a quick path to certain words or phrases that are easily accessible. When creating an index for a professional document, identify the kind of information that your readers will want to locate. This may also require you to look up words that mean the same thing. This work is compared to that of search queries online. These search queries provide results for a number of search able words. For example, if two people from different backgrounds are looking in the index for an answer, you must take into account that the people may be looking under different words. Indexes need to take into account its readers and the words choices they may be looking for.

Desktop publishing programs also can help you create an index by making a alphabetized list of words used throughout your publication. From these lists, you can see commonly used words and provide other words alternatives that your reader may be searching for.