question on indexing

Subject: question on indexing
From: Matt Hicks <matt -at- UNIDATA -dot- UCAR -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1993 10:32:36 -0600

Well, I've been enjoying some of the discussions here (some have
lost me completely) and now I think it's time to join the fray. My question
is about indexing "depth" (for lack of a better word) in a very specific
type of document. Let me first say that I'm a firm believer in the need
for complete indexes and I find few things in documentation more frustrating
than an index that never lists what I'm looking for (especially when I
_know_ that I'm using the right term). On to the problem: I'm writing a
supplemental manual for some software that we distribute (the authors of
the software wrote a user's guide explaining the commands; I'm augmenting
it with a discussion of concepts). Most of the topics take no more than
a page or two to explain, so for instance, everything I have to say about
"Floater Images" is on one page. It seems wasteful to have index listings
Floater images 44
educational 44
requesting 44
research 44
resolution of 44
etc. 44

Everything the manual says about floater images is on page 44. But I also
see people looking for specific information about floater images and turning
to the index to look for that exact listing. My first thought is to retain
all the sublistings but leave out the page number (except on the main

There are concepts that have references scattered throughout the
manual, and these will be listed with sublistings and page numbers.

So what are your thoughts on the need for sublistings? The thing I keep
thinking is that anyone who wants to know anything about floater images
will have to read all of page 44 until they find what they are looking for
anyway. Am I just doing them the favor of letting them know that searching
the page would not be in vain, that the information IS there?

Somebody hep me, please!
_________________________________________________ /\_/\ _________________
Matthew B. Hicks | Unidata Program Center | ((ovo)) The spotted owl:
matt -at- unidata -dot- ucar -dot- edu | UCAR, PO Box 3000 | ():::() the other "other
303/497-8676 | Boulder, CO 80307-3000 | VVV white meat."

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