Re: KWIC (was Re: Word Indexing using a Master Doc and having non-sequential pagination)
Dick Margulis responded to my dissin' of concordances:
<<But seriously, suppose you had a situation where searching was not possible, that is, where only hardcopy was going to be accessible, and where you did not have the budget for a real index. Would a KWIC index be more useful than a simple concordance?>>
Yes, but that's not saying much. The usual context is usually only a few surrounding words, and that means the context may not be clear, particularly in procedural information.
Moreover, it would be difficult
to present in a usable form. How would you alphabetize the keywords, for instance, when they're embedded in the midst of a sentence? Presumably you'd use them as headings, with the contexts provided as subheadings.
Actually, I was thinking in terms of a slight refinement of the way KWIC indexes were originally presented. Of course in those days we had no lowercase and limited punctuation (Semicolon? What's a semicolon?). But if you were going to do it today, you'd pick a device for where the line wraps, maybe a pipe (|); you'd filter out all the particles to cut down on the volume, and you'd print the index in a font readable at small sizes, like Bell Centennial, to keep the number of pages manageable. You'd choose a "context" length that would enable every entry to fit on a single line of the index. But then you'd just list every line flush left and break only for a new initial letter. There would be no reason for indented subentries. You'd still end up with an index that is close to a quarter of the whole book. For anything with a longish press run, the cost of paying a professional indexer would be less than the cost of the wasted paper and printing. But for specialized circumstances (just one or a few printed copies of a reference manual that won't be consulted often), it might be enough to meet contractual obligations.
My take: there's no substitute for a real, human-generated index.
Geoff, that's my take, too, when cost is not a factor. But where somebody else is setting the budget and the schedule, sometimes it is necessary to find a creative compromise. That's where I was coming from on this. I'm certainly not advocating taking business away from indexers.
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Word Indexing using a Master Doc and having non-sequential pagination: From: K Salm
Word Indexing using a Master Doc and having non-sequential pagination: From: Geoff Hart
KWIC (was Re: Word Indexing using a Master Doc and having non-sequential pagination): From: Dick Margulis
KWIC (was Re: Word Indexing using a Master Doc and having non-sequential pagination): From: Geoff Hart
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