RE: Looking for classes in indexing

Subject: RE: Looking for classes in indexing
From: "Wright, Lynne" <Lynne -dot- Wright -at- Kronos -dot- com>
To: Rick Quatro <rick -at- rickquatro -dot- com>, 'TECHWR-L' <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2018 16:32:57 +0000

The young'uns put their phones/tablets in ziplog baggies when/if they want to read or watch videos while in the shower (baths also having become mostly obsolete for that generation).

Save trees! Embrace the paperless world!

-----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 Rick Quatro
Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2018 12:20 PM
To: 'TECHWR-L' <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Subject: RE: Looking for classes in indexing

In many cases, I don't find search as a satisfactory replacement for a TOC or index. I like a TOC because it gives me a sense of context--where am I in the documentation and what information is available to me? I find that an index helps me see what concepts were important enough for the author to include in the documentation. This gives me a starting point if I am going to use search.

I may not "work" from a printed manual, but if I am doing research or trying to get background information, I may want to print sections of a manual to read offline. It may be because I am an old guy, but I tend to be a "bathtub reader" and paper is the only safe thing to read in the tub :-).

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+rick=rickquatro -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
<techwr-l-bounces+rick=rickquatro -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> On Behalf Of Wright, Lynne
Sent: Thursday, July 26, 2018 10:21 AM
To: Lin Sims <ljsims -dot- ml -at- gmail -dot- com>; Mark Baker <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com>; TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Subject: RE: Looking for classes in indexing

I also produce pdfs that aren't available on the internet; but my attitude is that its 2018, and having a laptop or tablet is pretty much a standard work tool -- certainly in the industry that I write for. If wrote for technicians who work out in the field, my focus would be on making sure my content is optimized for tablets (and whether it can function well for smartphones), not how to optimize that content for print. I'm not going to worry about accommodating the odd person who insists on working from a stack of printed pages, simply because its pretty much an obsolete way of being; its simply outdated and inefficient.

In terms of PDF searches not looking for synonyms for terms that you enter, I don't see that as a limitation. It just means you search for the most likely term; and if you get no results, you do another search on its synonym. No big deal, because each search takes what... 2 seconds? Can't think of any synonyms to search on? Google it!

I cannot think of one advantage to working from printed manuals. Anyone?

-----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: Thursday, July 26, 2018 9:36 AM
To: Mark Baker <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com>; TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Subject: Re: Looking for classes in indexing

I'm producing PDF documents that are not available on the general internet.
They may or may not be printed out, as they happen to be guides for installing physical devices. As far as I know, a PDF's search is limited to what's typed in and doesn't do synonyms, and if it's printed out the best search engine in the world is useless.

(As a side note, even if it is on the internet, I'll often check the index of a book because the organization and idea association available in an index is not available via Google.)

On Wed, Jul 25, 2018 at 7:19 PM, <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com> wrote:

> I'm old too, but let's face it, indexes are the paper substitute for a
> search engine. Anything an index can do, a decent search engine can do
> better (yes, including synonyms). More to the point, even the old are
> so habituated to search now that the only way they are going to
> stumble into your index is if it shows up in a search results.
>
> Unless, of course, they actually are reading on paper, because then
> the index is the poor man's search engine, and in that case it better
> be good, because it has a lot to live up to.
>
> And if there are those out there that still want to claim that indexes
> are better than search engines, here is the clincher: An index only
> works when you have a the right book in your hand. Which means you
> have to find the book before you can use the index. But a search
> engine
searches everything.
> The reader does not have to locate the book first. Indeed, they
> probably never know which "book" their results came from. They live in
> a world of pages, not books, and they find pages using search. Every
> Page
is Page One.
>
> If I was looking for a course to take in this day an age, I would take
> SEO before I took indexing. Unless, of course, I was actually
> preparing a book for publication on paper. (Which, as it happens, I am:
Structured Writing:
> Rhetoric and Process, real soon now from XML press. I think it has a
> pretty good index, most of which is Richard Hamilton's doing.)
>
> Mark
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: techwr-l-bounces+mbaker=analecta -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> > <techwr-
> > l-bounces+mbaker=analecta -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> On Behalf Of Guy
> > l-bounces+Ball
> > Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2018 6:40 PM
> > To: 'TECHWR-L' <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> > Subject: RE: Looking for classes in indexing
> >
> > 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.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
> > ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> > Visit TechWhirl for the latest on content technology, content
> > strategy
> and
> > content development | http://techwhirl.com
> >
> > ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> >
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--
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
RE: Looking for classes in indexing: From: Guy Ball
RE: Looking for classes in indexing: From: mbaker
Re: Looking for classes in indexing: From: Lin Sims
RE: Looking for classes in indexing: From: Wright, Lynne
RE: Looking for classes in indexing: From: Rick Quatro

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