RE: Looking for classes in indexing

Subject: RE: Looking for classes in indexing
From: "Guy Ball" <mrcalc -at- pacbell -dot- net>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2018 15:40:04 -0700

As Lynne noted, you really need to determine if an index makes sense for the
documentation you're creating - particularly if your audience has moved into
a modern mode of just "searching" for subject matter.

We did away with indexes because we always delivered as a pdf file and found
that our customer base generally does a simple "find" to quickly locate what
they wanted. (I sometimes wonder if they even care about TOCs anymore.) By
doing away with indexes, we saved many hours (days in most cases) for a tech
staff that was already too small and overworked to handle our existing
workload.

I would recommend classes in Frame, some illustrator tool (your choice), or
some online tool you might think about moving to.

(And before I get "hate mail" from indexers and other writers who love them,
know that I love indexes myself when reading a particularly technical
manual. But I'm also "old" and like reading a paper newspaper every
morning.)

Guy

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+mrcalc=pacbell -dot- net -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+mrcalc=pacbell -dot- net -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of
Wright, Lynne
Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2018 9:45 AM
To: Lin Sims <ljsims -dot- ml -at- gmail -dot- com>; TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Subject: RE: Looking for classes in indexing

Aside from being able to maintain a high level of fussiness and focus for as
long as it takes to build, then refine refine refine an index, the key to
creating effective indexes is being able to figure out what super-succinct
terms/keywords, and alternates for those terms, that users are most likely
to look for when they consult an index, and avoiding redundancies. I'm not
sure that that's something that can be taught in a one-size-fits-all class,
since it comes down to how well you know the product you are
documenting/what search terms are important enough to include, and how well
you can intuit how your end users think.

So I'd be curious to hear from people who have actually taken indexing
courses, with regards to whether they found those courses particularly
useful. Once you know how to add index markers with whatever tool you're
using, and what syntaxes to use when entering index entries, what else do
those courses cover?

You may benefit more by creating an index or two, then running them past an
experienced indexer who can edit/give you feedback on what to change, until
you start getting the hang of what works/what doesn't.

Keep in mind that as documentation moves more and more into electronic and
web-based output, users probably rely more on search functions than indexes.
It's the same concept, in that it comes down to figuring out optimal keyword
tags; but my point is, you may want to look for a course that is less
focused on old-school print-doc indexes, and more on search optimization for
electronic content.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+lynne -dot- wright=kronos -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
<techwr-l-bounces+lynne -dot- wright=kronos -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> On Behalf Of
Lin Sims
Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2018 11:51 AM
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Subject: Looking for classes in indexing

My employer has decided that everyone in the company should be able to get
job-related training, and me and my fellow tech writer have been told to
find something to learn. Since indexes are something we're supposed to do
and neither of us has experience with it, I thought that might be a good
skill to learn and I'm hoping for recommendations.

I've got a couple of books on indexing (Larry Bonura's The Art of Indexing
and Kurt Ament's Indexing: A Nuts-and-Bolts Guide for Technical Writers),
but I think as rank newbies we would benefit from some actual classes.

I am not really interested in joining the ASI just to get access to what
appears to be an excellent set of webinars; indexing is an adjunct to our
job, not its focus. (Annoyingly, the Google blip says that STC members can
get it at a discount, but I've found no way for STC members who are not ASI
members to get the course.)

The STC doesn't appear to be running its 2-day "Indexing Skills for
Technical Communicators" indexing course anytime soon, either.

So, any recommendations? There's only two of us, so having someone come in
to train is probably too expensive (small company, you know?).

--
Lin Sims
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Looking for classes in indexing: From: Lin Sims
RE: Looking for classes in indexing: From: Wright, Lynne

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