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That's not true at all...those people who will use an index are not people
who will necessarily read the whole document (that is, after all, the whole
reason that the index exists, and savvy readers know this).
My point is that if you define the term at the beginning of the narrative,
then the whole put it in the glossary and index the glossary becomes
My reasoning is thus:
1. If that reader is like me and everyone else I know, s/he will go through
the page references, find the entries that span multiple pages, and go there
to see if it is what s/he needs (usually the discussion of the topic). If
the definition is on that page, the event ends.
I get aggravated with entries that only include the first page, forcing me
to look at each to whittle down to the actual discussion of that topic.
2. Single page references are used only as a last resort, and most index
page references in page order. Since the glossary generally occurs *at the
end* of the manual, that reference will be the last one, and will generally
not be tried until the end. The reader has more than likely already found
the definition, or gotten frustrated and quit (if the entries are lengthy).
Now, if you're ordering your index references carefully, and include
sub-entries, then this shouldn't be an issue. That takes a lot of work,
I'm not arguing one way or another. I think it is a good idea to include a
reference to the glossary entry. However, I also think it is a better idea
to ensure that all terms are clearly defined in the text and make sure that
is referenced in the text.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kat Nagel, MasterWork Consulting" <mlists -at- masterworkconsulting -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Thursday, April 03, 2003 12:14 PM
Subject: Re: Quick and Easy Poll
> >Wouldn't that be a non-issue *if* you included a clear definition of
> >the term on the first page of the discussion, before the narratives?
> >Jeff Hanvey
> Sure, if you know that all your users will read the manual like a
> novel from front to back. These days, with so much to do and so
> little time, I think it's more likely that a user will want a
> specific bit of information *right now* and become irritated, like my
> client's VP, at any delay. Providing a glossary in printed material
> and including the terms in the index seems like a simple way to cover
> all bases...erm...user types
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