Re: Indexing Online Books: Cost Effective?

Subject: Re: Indexing Online Books: Cost Effective?
From: Chuck Banks <chuck -at- ASL -dot- DL -dot- NEC -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 9 Nov 1993 07:46:15 CST

Mark Hagen writes:

>In hypertext (assuming the hypertext is well designed) this alternative
>reading approach is available through the links. Relations between topics
>are "links" in hypertext. An index becomes redundant and, I would argue
>unnecessary. (Though a user must be presented with choices allowing
>himself or herself an access point to the information sought)

I don't agree. I find an index a valuable navigation tool in a
hypertext document. Related links can be spread over several screens
in the document. The index assembles them, in structured form for quick
and easy access.

I often skim through a presentation, looking for particular
information, unless there is an index. In that case, I call up the
index and save myself a great deal of skimming and searching.

In help systems, I read/view the context-sensitive help, follow a
few links, and, if I still need more information, I call up the index,
if available, or table of contents.

I find indexes to be great time savers when using a document or help
system. And with such tools as FrameMaker 4.0, which can automatically
build hyperlinks from a generated index to the document, time during
spent linking an index and a document are greatly reduced. For a small
increase in development time, I and my users get the benefit of an
automated index.

Best Regards!

Chuck Banks
__ ________ ______
|\\ | || // Chuck Banks
| \\ | ||_______ || Senior Technical Writer
| \\ | || || NEC America, Inc.
| \\| \\______ \\______ E-Mail: chuck -at- asl -dot- dl -dot- nec -dot- com
America, Incorporated CompuServe: 72520,411

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