Re: Is a bad index better than no index?

Subject: Re: Is a bad index better than no index?
From: "David M. Brown" <dmbrown -at- brown-inc -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 17:26:47 -0700

David Castro wrote:
> it better to create an index that isn't great...or to leave the
> document without one?
> ...Do you think it would be worth the effort to create the index, on
> the off chance that someone might skim the index looking for something
> to prompt their memory, or to lead them to the answer to a question
> they don't know how to ask?

Unless it's a *really* lousy index, I'd say it's better to include one.
Fortunately, there are resources for tech writers who create indexes.
Here are a few I found in a quick search of today's messages on the
Index-L list:

* "Read Me First: A Style Guide for the Computer Industry" by
the Sun Technical Publications group

Quote: "It contains an excellent chapter on indexing that
gave me a very strong 'jump start'..."

* "The Art of Indexing" by Larry Bonura

* The chapter on indexing from the "Chicago Manual of Style"

* "Indexing Books" by Nancy C. Mulvany

* The American Society of Indexers (ASI) web site at

Many of the skills used in tech writing are also used in indexing.

Don't despair!


David M. Brown - Brown Inc.
dmbrown -at- brown-inc -dot- com

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Is a bad index better than no index?: From: David Castro

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