Re: Online documentation, problems using

Subject: Re: Online documentation, problems using
From: David Hamilton <david -at- URSUS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1993 18:25:20 PST

Barbara E. Cohen said:

> On the other hand, someone recently said to me that he thinks online
> indexing will become obsolete, because full-text searches are possible. I
> tried to explain how a good index saves the researcher so much time, but
> this particular historian wasn't buying it (something about wanting to see
> all the "false hits" himself and not trusting the indexer to evaluate
> relevant material).

I seriously doubt that full-text search capability will replace or
obsolete the index. In addition to the time wasted on "false hits",
there is a significant time savings for an adequate index with links
to the referenced text.

I often save time by skipping the table of contents for a volume and
going directly to the index. Assuming that the index is at least
adequate, I can find the appropriate section regardless of how poorly
the document is organized. A quick "click" on the index entry pops me
to the relevant section of the manual.

With respect to this, I prefer an online documentation structure that
allows the index to be displayed in a separate window than the
document text. This makes it much easier to find all information
related to a topic, and is especially handy where there are not
adequate cross-reference links within the text.

David Hamilton david -at- ursus -dot- com

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