Re: What sayest me... on Worthless TC Degrees

Subject: Re: What sayest me... on Worthless TC Degrees
From: "Jason A. Czekalski" <topsidefarm -at- mva -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L digest <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 10:09:15 -0800

John Posada, Merck Research Laboratories wrote:

>>>An index is only that useful when the content of the
book itself is so bad that it doesn't make sense.

How is needing a section of the book to find a section
of the book a good thing.

Don't get me wrong...indexes are important...only
because books are structured so poorly. If the book
was arranged well, the index wouldn't be needed. <<<


John, to this I must respectfully say WRONG!!! I have to agree with the
original poster, a good index is important in ALL documents, even well
organized ones. A properly set up index saves huge amounts of time, for
both novice and expert.

And I'll given an example to prove the point. A reference book that I
use a lot in my work is The Machinery's Handbook. This book is over 2500
pages long and covers every major topic in machine design. The book is
very well organized. Each section is broken down into a logical flow.
Having used the book for over 25 years, I know it very well.

But the fact remains, it is a huge book. Each section can be very long.
What if I wanted to look for something really detailed, say the pitch
diameter for metric pipe threads? Yes, I could go to the section on
threading, but it is over 260 pages long. All I need is the 3-page chart
that covers the dimensional requirements for metric pipe threads. The
fastest way to do this is to go right to the index. You look up Threads,
then the sub-title Pipe, metric. You get the exact pages you need.

For those of use who have to look up a lot of detailed information on a
regular basis, a good index is the make or break for a reference book.
Even the best organized book must have a good index, or it becomes a
shelf sitter.

Sorry to burst your bubble.
Jason





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