RE: Is a bad index better than no index?

Subject: RE: Is a bad index better than no index?
From: Susan Ahrenhold <sahrenhold -at- winspc -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 23 May 2001 10:53:28 -0400

My $.10 -- surcharge for experience --

I agree with Geoff that one of the most important things a human adds to an
index is synonyms. And, try thinking like your target audience.

If you are publishing "documents," but at least two depts in your company
calls them "reports," be sure you have at least a cross-reference between
the two terms. Try to know the vocabulary of your industry. If your software
calls a particular feature "searching," but most companies call the same
function "finding," be sure that you create a cross-reference from "finding"
to "searching." Good indexing like this makes switching from a competitor's
product to your product just that much easier.

And one more pet peeve. Make sure that all pages in the book are in the
index. If you bind two books in one, either color-code the index pages, so
that people can find them (think bleeding-edge color), or make a shared
index. Or was I the only one who could never find anything in the multi-book
DOS docs that Microsoft used to release, when they still did paper?

>>>Oh, and I was a liBRARian???!!! too! Unfortunately, people seem to think
>>>that's quite in keeping with my personality. What can I say?? In any
>>>it was good training for many aspects of being a technical writer.

Another librarian in a previous life here. Actually, the organizational
skills inherent in library science are very valuable in all branches of
technical writing. We are trained to look for structure.

I am also a freelance indexer. This allows me to read books on interesting
new topics on a regular basis, and keeps my indexing skills sharp.


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RE: Is a bad index better than no index?: From: Lydia Wong

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