Re: Indexing of reference manual?

Subject: Re: Indexing of reference manual?
From: Jean Weber <jean -at- wrevenge -dot- com -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 15:58:55 +1000

I'd add to Geoff's comments that you'll probably find other terms that people might want to look up, but which wouldn't show up in a TOC. Also, unless the TOC is in alphabetical order, an index is helpful for quickly finding terms that *do* show up in the TOC as well as those that don't.

I often look up (in reference manuals and user guides) stuff that I remember reading on a previous occasion. A well-designed index reduces the frustration of "I *know* it's in here, because I read it in here, but I can't find it again!"

Jean

Geoff Hart wrote:

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



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Indexing of reference manual?: From: Hart, Geoff

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