Indexing of reference manual?

Subject: Indexing of reference manual?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 12:44:42 -0400

Martina Sasnauskaite wonders: <<What are your ideas about indexing the
User's Reference part of the manual (the description of menus, dialog boxes,
toolbars)? I write a manual which is divided into two parts - application
and reference. The indexing of an application manual is clear, but what
about user's reference part? It seems that the main information is in the
Table of Contents.>>

The _main_ information is certainly in the TOC, but what's missing is any
kind of synonym for that main information. Let's say (for example) that one
menu choice is "outputting reports", and that's the name under which it
appears in the TOC. Great so far as it goes, but most sane people will never
think of "output" as a word that means "produce some paper"; they'll look
under "printing", "reports, printing of", "dead trees, uses for", and other
related terms. The goal of a table of contents is to present things the way
the designers see them; the goal of an index is to present things the way
users see them.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
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