Re: query re help

Subject: Re: query re help
From: dmbrown -at- brown-inc -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2004 14:37:24 -0800

peemo -at- hotmail -dot- com wrote:

...If I knew the word 'justify' I would have typed it in rather than
the question, "How do I make the words line up straight?"

If I do not, that whole list is useless to me.

That would be true *only* if you refused to look at any of the topics listed in the results of the query.

One of the main values of an index or search engine is its ability to introduce the reader to unfamiliar terms. In indexing parlance, including these "synonyms" teaches the reader by equating a familiar concept (making the words line up straight) with an unfamiliar concept (justifying text).

The reader looks for one, finds the other, and learns in the process the correct term for the concept in question. Using this specific example, our hypothetical user looks for how to line up the text, finds a topic on justifying text, realizes it's exactly what he needs, and thinks, "Oh, *that's* what they call it."

If he'd been *unable* to find the information by typing in the original question, then the help system would've failed.

In this case, though, the help system serves a dual purpose by (a) providing the information needed, and (b) instructing him as to the correct term for "making the words line up straight."

That's indexing (and help) nirvana.



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