Indexing Online Books

Subject: Indexing Online Books
From: "Larry Kunz ((919) 254-6395)" <ldkunz -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 9 Nov 1993 11:32:53 EST

Mark Hagen writes:

> The beauty of true hypertext (or my concept thereof)
> is the fact that there is no linear underlying document; There are only
> pieces of text (or graphics, video, sound, etc. in hypermedia) with the
> only connection in the form of links. You certainly can't have a standard
> TOC or index in the format in which they exist in printed works, because
> you don't have page numbers. (There are no pages.) An itemized list of
> information contained in the hypertext becomes merely an extensive
> entry-point selection device, and a problematic one at that. With no page
> numbers, how could you possibly deal with multiple references? Indexes and
> hypertext don't mix.

True, the index doesn't have page numbers, but it's still an index.
It's an alphabetical list of the "pieces" -- an "entry point selection
device," as you say. And what's wrong with that?

You deal with multiple references by having a search mechanism; the
result of the search is another list -- either alphabetic or, on a
"smart" system, ranked with the most likely choices at the top --
from which I can jump to the item I want.

Indexes and hypertext *do* mix. I use them all the time. In fact,
I doubt whether you can have good hypertext without indexing.

Larry Kunz
ldkunz -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com

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