Re: Multiple Index Entries: Your Input, Please...

Subject: Re: Multiple Index Entries: Your Input, Please...
From: Janice Gelb <janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 23 May 2006 13:18:18 -0700

Keith Hansen wrote:

I have an indexing question; please give me your opinion.
In many cases, it's possible to have two (or more) index entries that
refer you to the same page. Example:
* Index Entry No. 1: Users, adding to system . . . p. 264
* Index Entry No. 2: Adding users to system . . . p. 264

Here are my questions:

Question No. 1: * Is one of the above formats considered preferable to the other? * I prefer Index Entry No. 1 because it starts with the broad category
you are working with (users) and then lists the specific action you are
performing with that category (adding to system).

I'd do both (and you probably will also have other things that
are "added" so it is more likely to be "adding, users to a
system"). Most indexing recommendations call for "double posting"
given that all readers are not going to think about the task in
the same way: some might approach it from the noun and some from
the action. I know that some indexes only provide noun entries
but when we were researching the indexing chapter for the Sun
style guide, most indexing texts recommended including both nouns
and gerunds.

Question No. 2: * In a large index (say, dozens of pages), I would probably include both
entries in my index. But what if the index is quite brief (say, five to
10 pages)? Would you still include both entries? * My view is that when the index is brief, it's easier for the user to
quickly scan the entire contents. Thus, both entries may not be as

I'd do both even in a shorter index as I hate to make
readers hunt around. And in this particular case, even for
scanning, "a" is pretty far away from "u.")

-- Janice


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Multiple Index Entries: Your Input, Please...: From: Keith Hansen

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