Re: Indexing dynamic text?

Subject: Re: Indexing dynamic text?
From: "Mark Baker" <mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com>
To: <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2000 10:13:12 -0500

Geoff Hart wrote

> Would I be correct in assuming that you mean "_manual_
> indexing" doesn't make sense because of the volume of the work
> and the difficulty of indexing something "on demand, in real time"?
> If not, I think you've missed the point of indexing:

Actually, I was thinking mostly about full text indexing, but I think the
comment applies to concept indexing just as much. Actually generating an
index in a mechanical process that is performed on a finished file.
Providing data for the indexing process is a different question.

In our system every component in our database has an index field in which we
list index terms for the component. If we needed to manage variant
terminology, we would use markup in that field to designate terms from a
control list of variant terms so that we could substitute the right terms
into the indexing field as a preprocess step before building the indexes.

But the only point I was trying to make is that no matter how you manage
your index data in your source, you cannot usefully generate an actual index
from that data except as part of the process of building a particular
information product from it. In other words, the index of an information
product cannot exist prior to the information product itself.

This means that dynamically generated information products cannot have
indexes in the traditional sense. My point is that this should not be seen
as a problem because an index is simply a means of providing an alternate
vector into an information set (other than linear scanning). Dynamic
generation of information is also a way of providing an alternate vector
into an information set. Dynamic generation and indexes do the same job. I
can park my car in the stable because I don't need to keep a horse anymore.

On the other hand, simple substitution of terms into an otherwise static
document does not constitute an adequate degree of dynamic generation to
obviate the need for an index. Thus my suggestion to regenerate the entire
document, including index, each time the docs are customized.

Indexing dynamic text?: From: Geoff Hart

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