Re: On multiple indexes

Subject: Re: On multiple indexes
From: Andreas Ramos <andreas -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 1994 12:22:04 -0800

In my academic training, I was accustomed to separate indexes. It is
convenient to be able to look in a short list for names only.
One way to evaluate a text is to see if the author mentions certain
names. For example, if the author of a philosophical work only mentions
the names of philosophers who have been translated into English, but one
knows that there are significant authors in the subject who haven't been
translated, then one can assume that the author is incapable of reading
German. Thus one can safely ignore the author: he (or she) wasn't doing
thorough research. (the important authors/researchers in academic work
can all read multiple languages.)
This isn't some odd test; thesis are checked by looking for the standard
citations, etc. If the author missed a "biggie", then it's back to the
Thus name indexes do have a use. There may be other uses as well.

As for "footnotes being old-fashioned": so what is a margin note? Move
the footnote from the bottom of the page to the side of the page and it's
still the same thing. (or from the end of the chapter). Or even from the
glossary. They're all the same thing: they serve the same purpose: they
explain certain concepts in depth in a secondary track (the text body is
the primary track.)

Margin notes, and wide margins, are the result in manuals (and certain
magazines) of non-text centric persons getting involved with the layout
of a page. Page designers aren't reading the page, nor are they
interested in reading the page at all; they are LOOKING at the page. It
seems less threatening, less information, less work to have wide margins.
(it really annoys me to see small print with very wide line spacing. the
print disappears into the page.)

In the early 70's, I remember the first text books with wide margins; the
professors pointed out to text book publihsers that wide margins gave the
students room to write notes. In the 80's, the fellow who designed the
typography of THE FACE (a british pop-culture magazine) created much of
modern layout, with his mixed fonts, colored fonts, w i d e s p r e a d
fonts, solid bars running off the side of the page, etc.

The discussion over margin notes vs. indexes etc. thus has a graphics
design component to it. In that component, there is no way to specify
that it is better or worse; it's just fashion.

Andreas Ramos, M.A. Heidelberg Sacramento, California

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