Cindex review & related issues

Subject: Cindex review & related issues
From: Lori Lathrop <76620 -dot- 456 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 1994 15:44:13 EST

fyi .... This was on INDEX-L, and I think it may be of interest to you

Lori Lathrop ----------> INTERNET:76620 -dot- 456 -at- compuserve -dot- com
Lathrop Media Services
Georgetown, CO 80444

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Sender: "Indexer's Discussion Group"
<INDEX-L%BINGVMB -dot- BITNET -at- UBVM -dot- cc -dot- buffalo -dot- edu>
From: Lisa J Guedea <lguedea -at- world -dot- std -dot- com>
Subject: Cindex review & related issues
To: Multiple recipients of list INDEX-L
<INDEX-L%BINGVMB -dot- BITNET -at- UBVM -dot- cc -dot- buffalo -dot- edu>

Wow! I just read a review of Cindex in the Dec. 12 issue of The Seybold
Report on Publishing Systems. The author (David Gertler) was thoughtful
and fair, and he really did his homework. He talked about built-in
"indexers" found in common DTP and wordprocessing packages (to an
audience of whom the majority probably don't know that anything else
exists), and carefully explained the advantages of a dedicated indexing
package like Cindex -- "the obvious choice for any but the smallest,
simplest indexes."

Gertler also mentioned ASI, Macrex, Leverage Technologies, and the recent
controversy over Indexicon, saying that his review of Cindex reached a
conclusion similar to that of the reviewers of Indexicon in Keywords
several months ago. From the Seybold review: "We remain skeptical that
natural-language document analysis is sophisticated enough now to produce
a professional-quality index of a typical document. . . Now that we've
found Cindex, we've sworn off using word processors for indexing."

I know that this is not news to many indexers, and that there are more
thorough reviews of dedicated indexing software to be found in the
professional indexing literature. The reason I'm pointing out this
particular review, though, is that it's so refreshing to see it in a
journal that probably reaches a different, and perhaps wider, audience
than indexers. Some people in our IS department read the Seybold Reports,
for instance, and I would guess many people in the publishing world do
too. One of our catalog production people referred to the Seybold reports
as his "Bible" of electronic publishing.

Now I realize there's some overlap between "indexers," "computer people,"
and "publishing people," and in fact, my own job is a case in point that
such dividing lines are often blurred. But I suspect that many of those
who don't actually *do* the indexing -- and perhaps some who do -- don't
really understand (or believe?) the critical, substantive difference
between an inverted file of words from a text (i.e. a concordance prettied
up to look like an index) and a carefully-thought-out subject index by
someone who knows the intricacies and incongruities of words, meaning,
and information-seeking behavior.

And sometimes I grow weary of trying to "educate" people about that
difference without sounding like I'm pooh-poohing technology or getting
defensive about my skills, etc. That's why I am so excited to see someone
dealing with this issue in a well-known, respected publishing/technology
publication that will be read by people who may not want to listen to my

Enough of my soapboxing! Read the article! The full citation is as

"Cindex: Simplifying the Production of Indexes Using a PC,"
by David Gertler
The Seybold Report on Publishing Systems
vol. 24 #7 (Dec. 12, 1994)
pp. 12-15

Lisa Guedea W5527 Highway 106 P.O. Box 800
Corporate Librarian Fort Atkinson, WI 53538-0800
Highsmith, Inc. 414-563-9571 phone
LGuedea -at- world -dot- std -dot- com 414-563-7395 fax

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