Indexing with BookMaster

Subject: Indexing with BookMaster
From: Bob Stromberg 8/296-6158 <stromberg -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1993 21:36:57 EST

In contrast to Larry's experience, almost no one I know uses "central
file indexing". There have been many discussions about this topic.

My opinion is based in part on having developed a new book using a central
index (the RACF Diagnosis Guide), left the book to work on others, then come
back to it after about a year of working on other books.

Frankly, the central file index created a structure that I had to
re-learn in order to manipulate. I couldn't simply add new index entries
according to the "INDEX RULES" that our group had developed. I also had
to figure out which ID to reference. That meant (1) figuring out where
to insert the index tags, then (2) looking for a matching ID to reference,
then either (3a) typing in a matching ID or (3b) inventing a new ID that
didn't already match an existing ID.

By the time I figured out what I was doing with IDs, I forgot what I was
indexing. I wasn't writing any more!

By the way, I'd heartily endorse central file indexing if you could ensure
that all writers updating the files adhered to the same approach. However,
files can have "literal" indexes (that don't use REFID) along with those that
do use REFID, and the index would still work. You wouldn't know about the
inconsistency until you tried to change the index entries.

This is analogous to the question of whether to use symbols for words and
phrases. If, in the body of a document, you sometimes used the symbol,
and sometimes used the literal word or phrase, someone updating the
symbol definition might think that all occurences in the text would be
changed; likewise, someone doing a global change of the literal word or
phrase might not know to go look for the symbol definition.

So, my opinion (not that of IBM) is that if you can control the coding
methods by which the files are built and updated, and if you can train
new writers to use the same methods, go ahead and set up
central file indexes.

I think the answer will differ from shop to shop.

Regards, and Happy Holidays,

Bob Stromberg stromberg -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com
MVS/JES Information Development USIB2FZL at IBMMAIL
IBM Corporation
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are my own, not those of IBM.

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