On multiple indexes

Subject: On multiple indexes
From: Steve Owens <uso01 -at- EAGLE -dot- UNIDATA -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 1994 13:25:05 +0700

> Hans writes:
>> A good many academic books have separate indexes,--e.g., one for
>> "subjects" and one for "names". The more indexes there are, the more
>> aggravating I find it (one linguistics book I know has four separate
>> indexes, for subjects, names, rules & principles, and languages).
>> But even two adds significantly to my search time, especially since
>> they usually come with virtually no navigational help (tabs, headers,
>> whatever).
>> [...]
> When using indexes, I find the less the better. A well integrated index,
> in my opinion, is one that has all the relevant topics, keywords,
> abbreviations, acronyms, and names alphabetically organized. More than
> one index is silly, even for very large books. I see the purpose of an
> index as being a quick and easy reference list. There is nothing quick
> and easy about spending half an hour looking for Weiss in the regular
> index only to discover he is really in the Names index. There is only
> one type of index worth using in my opinion.

You know, I've been pretty much nodding my head in agreement
and otherwise ignoring this thread, because we never use multiple
indexes, but it just occurred to me that we do, in an odd sort of way,
by using multi-level index entries.

I can see the value in having a section for "names" and a
section for "illustrations", etc, but far simpler to simply index a
name occurrence under both:

Weiss, 68

and (in the same index, in the "N" section):



We have an index entry, for example, "Commands", that has
fifty or sixty commands listed under it. The command "CREATE.FILE"
shows up by itself as "CREATE.FILE", as an entry under "Commands", as
an entry under "File Manipulation Commands", etc.

Steven J. Owens
uso01 -at- unidata -dot- com

Previous by Author: Planning a Help Project
Next by Author: 100 Best Jobs/Tech Writing 18th
Previous by Thread: Re: Please tell me this is an April Fool's gag
Next by Thread: On multiple indexes

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads