There are four main fields by which the data can be sorted: surname, career (which covers congregations and non-ministerial employment), counties or countries, and education. There is also a search option, but variations in spelling, particularly of surnames, can lead to poor results. It may therefore prove more satisfactory to browse one of the main fields for the relevant names or categories. Images of the original cards can be seen for each person: to check the accuracy of the transfer of data, to find any additional information, and most importantly to see a list of the sources used.
Additional information about ministers in the Surman Index who were tutors or students at dissenting academies before 1860 can be found by searching Dissenting Academies Online: Database and Encyclopedia. In some cases there will be inconsistencies between the two databases. The information in the latter is based on more recent research, but in general the Surman Index contains more information about the careers of ministers.