Each entry consists of three parts: header, quotations, and lexicographical sources.
1. The Header
The lemma appears in Tibetan script and in scholarly transliteration, where appropriate with citations of variant spellings or related forms. Homonyms are identified with index numbers. Arabic numbers mark differing meanings of the same word. With foreign and loan words, the term of the source language is quoted at the end of the header. Also, for established specialist terms from the Indian scientific, religious, and cultural tradition, their Sanskrit equivalents are listed.
2. Quotations from Primary Sources
Quotations from Tibetan texts appear in chronological order: First come quotations from Old Tibetan followed by those from the Buddhist canon and the autochthonous literature. Because of their special character, quotations from texts of the Bon religion and from the Gesar epic appear at the end.
Where possible, critical text editions are being used. With negligent spellings, the standard spelling is pointed out in parentheses, but not in the case of Old Tibetan sources nor with texts that regularly apply special spellings, as they will have corresponding entries. The tilde replaces the lemma in the text quotations. Abbreviations and contractions are implicitly dissolved and written in full.
Each quotation is followed by a German translation taking the context into account. Addenda are cited in brackets, interpretive information in parentheses. For a clear typeface, elemental grammatical additions have no brackets if they can be easily understood from the instance’s further context. Tenses and moods are not represented schematically but chosen in accordance with the context of a given instance. For the sake of a coherent translation, case markers and gerund particles at the end of the quotes may be omitted. Usually, collocations are not replicated in German, idiomatic expressions like glu gtoṅ “to give a song, viz. to sing” are being simplified.
3. Quotations from Lexicographical Sources
Information on the meaning from domestic dictionaries follow the quotations from primary sources. Regularly taken into account are the traditional Tibetan dictionaries, Mahāvyutpatti, sGra-sbyor bam-po gñis-pa und Li-śi’i gur-khaṅ, as well as the alphabetically arranged lexica of dGe-bśes chos-grags and Dagyab. Details on the Old Tibetan vocabulary are taken from the Bod-rgya tshig-mdzod chen-mo. The Tibetan Amarakośa is cited whenever helpful for the understanding of entries in later dictionaries.
The instances’ translation is followed by the precise reference in parentheses. At present, more than 500 texts are being used, ten percent of them are consulted on a regular base. The cited texts can be identified by referring to the Sigla-Index, the Literature-Index and the List of Abbreviations.