Abbreviations in general use in the dictionary are listed on pp. vii-xi; bibliographical ones (periodicals, reference works, editions etc.) are listed on pp. xiii-xviii and discographical abbreviations on pp. xix-xx.
Alphebetization of headings is based on the principle that words are read continuously, ignoring spaces, hyphens, accents, bracketed matter etc., up to the first comma; the same principle applies thereafter. 'Mc' and 'M'' are listed as 'Mac', 'St' as 'Saint'.
Bibliographies are arranged chronologically (within section, where divided), in order of year of first publication, and alphabetically by author within years.
Cross-references are shown in small capitals, with a large capital at the beginning of the first word of the entry referred to. Thus 'The instrument is related to the BASS TUBA' would mean that the entry referred to is not "Bass tuba' but 'Tuba, bass'.
Signatures where the article was compiled by the editors or in the few cases where an author has wished to remain anonymous are indicated by a square box ().
Work-lists are normally arranged chronoogically (within section, where divided). Italic symbols used in them (like D-Dl or GB-Lbl) refer to the libraries holding sources, and are explained on pp. xxi-xxxvii; each national sigillum stands until contradicted.