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Subject:Index vs. Search? From:Stuart Burnfield <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au> To:techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com Date:Sun, 09 Sep 2007 16:08:44 +0800
I had a similar experience when learning WordPerfect. I wanted to look
up the section on selecting text. After a very long time spent searching
the index and riffling through the books, I eventually discovered that
what other WPs called 'select' WordPerfect called 'block'. There was a
SELECT function in the manual but it was about something unrelated.
Searching wouldn't have helped me because it would have just led me
through endless passing references to selecting printers, selecting
options, etc, as well as to the irrelevant (for my purposes) SELECT topic.
A good index would have had entries such as:
selecting text, see BLOCK function
Al Geist said:
<<If I don't know the term, the index won't help me; however, if I
know the concept, the search function will.>>
Geoff Hart said:
That's actually backwards to how it works. The example I like to use
to illustrate how this works was learning how to type accented
characters in an old word processor I once used (possibly WordPerfect
5?): you could search for accents, foreign letters, special
characters, and a few other likely terms using full-text search, but
only if you knew that the authors had used "overstrike mode" (which
was how you told the software to insert the correct accent) could you
possibly find what you were looking for. However, a good index would
have included all these synonyms, and possibly more, thereby ensuring
that if you didn't know "overstrike mode", you could still find what
you were looking for.
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