I'm currently writing my dissertation/thesis and am quite new to using glossaries. I'm unsure if I'm going a bit overboard regarding the number of terms I'm including in my glossary. E.g. I talk about the terms Breadth-First Search, Depth First Search, and Iterative Deepening A* Search (All search algorithms) for which I have included glossary definitions so I am able to use their corresponding abbreviations.

Would it be convenient to include definitions in a glossary for terms such as "Rubik's Cube" and "Cubie" and "Facelet" - Rubik's Cube Jargon. My dissertation revolves around a Rubik's Cube Solver. Terms like these are plastered throughout the report and I'm unsure if I should just write a simple description in some form of bullet-pointed format, separate from the glossary, or would I just include terms like these in the glossary. The first mention of these terms is visibly internally hyperlinked.

Any advice, recommendations, and ideas are most welcome


2 Answers 2


Since your thesis is about Rubik's cube a section where you establish cube vocabulary, complete with definitions and examples, is entirely appropriate. You can duplicate some of that material in the glossary, but I suspect your readers won't need to refer to it often. I would not introduce abbreviations or acronyms for "cubie" and "facelet".

The first time you introduce a standard algorithm like depth first search you explain how it works and note that you will abbreviate it as DFS. You put that in the glossary.

  • 1
    Agree, but I'll also note that, like one of the OP's other questions, I'd answer differently for a publication other than a thesis. But a thesis is more of a "stand alone" document than papers for publication where readers might be expected to already know the jargon of the trade.
    – Buffy
    Apr 13, 2021 at 14:52
  • I'm currently writing a thesis/dissertation so the reader isn't expected to know the jargon... It's difficult to know what I should outline in this really haha. I would ask my supervisor most of this stuff but turns out it is a holiday period. Very unlucky timing haha. Apr 13, 2021 at 15:02

There are two separate concepts here - a glossary (a list of technical terms with explanations) and a list of abbreviations. They are sometimes, but not always, combined (and sometimes aren't present at all - my PhD thesis had neither).

Choosing whether to use one or both is a matter of taste (unless your institution has relevant guidelines for your thesis). You can abbreviate and explain concepts in text if you choose to do so, as long as the abbreviation/explanation is given clearly where the term first appears. If you are concerned that the glossary is too long, you could restrict it to a list of abbreviations.

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