Re: Reasons for online

Subject: Re: Reasons for online
From: Lori Lathrop <76620 -dot- 456 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 1994 20:25:37 EST

Gwen -- I've been up to my eyeballs in work, so I haven't been following
this thread ... but a little birdie (you know who you are!) sent me a
note about it. And I can't resist jumping in!

Anyway ... you're right! A comprehensive index needs cross-references
(*See* and *See also*) and entries for synonyms. It should also contain
entries for concepts; and those concepts are often not expressed in the
text. For example, I recently indexed a book that contained information
on several online services; however, oddly enough, the term "online
services" did not appear anywhere in the text. It did, however, appear
in my index.

In addition to being a retrievability tool, an index is something else
that is just as important -- it provides readers with a topic analysis.
It shows how various topics are related, and that topic analysis is a
learning tool for the reader (especially readers unfamiliar with the
product or the subject matter). BTW, that's where a printed index
outshines an online index. When readers see a printed index, it's easier
for them to see the "big picture" in terms of topic analysis. (Before I
get flamed, let me explain that I'm not saying printed indexes are
necessarily better than online indexes. Both types of indexes are

Sorry ... I couldn't help jumping into this discussion. Those of you
who've attended my workshops know how passionate I get about indexing :-)

Lori Lathrop ----------> INTERNET:76620 -dot- 456 -at- compuserve -dot- com
Lathrop Media Services
P.O. Box 808
Georgetown, CO 80444
Phone: 303-567-4011
(Author of _An Indexer's Guide to the Internet_ published by
the American Society of Indexers, P.O. Box 386, Port Aransas, TX 78373)

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