TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Indexes - Printed vs. On-line From:Lori Lathrop <76620 -dot- 456 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM> Date:Tue, 27 Dec 1994 11:22:36 EST
Chet Ensign (INTERNET:Chet_Ensign%LDS -at- NOTES -dot- WORLDCOM -dot- COM) notes:
> .... Most indexes fail for the a more pedestrian reason; the
> people responsible for them were not given enough time to do a good job.
Here's a tip for those of you who find yourselves short on time to develop
a good index: index as you write to ensure that you generate entries for
all major topics. Develop index entries as soon as you complete a draft
of a section or a chapter.
If you're using software that allows you to create embedded tags, you
don't have to worry about page references changing because the software
will always generate the correct page numbers (as long as your tag is
close to the corresponding entries).
If your software doesn't use embedded tags, you can still index as you
write if you faithfully keep a separate file of index entries. You may
want to enter the page refs, or you may want to omit the page refs until
your final draft is out for review.
One of the most frequently asked questions in my indexing workshops is:
how much time does it take to create an index? My answer is that, for
most technical documentation, you can probably index 8-10 pages of text
per hour; however, that does not include editing time, which is likely
to comprise approximately one-fourth to one-third of your time.
Of course, if your technical documentation is dense with indexable terms,
you'll do far less than 8-10 pages per hour. For example, my speed
slowed down to a crawl (4 pages per hour, at best) when I was indexing
some agricultural science periodicals; some pages had 40+ indexable terms.
Here's another ballpark figure for you. I generally tell corporate
clients and publishing houses that, using Cindex (indexing software),
I can index 400-500 pages of text per week. Keep in mind, tho', that
figure assumes that I'm spending *all* of my time indexing and, since
I work alone in my home office, I don't have too many interruptions.
Chances are, most of you would need more time to create a comprehensive,
Hope you find this info useful. BTW, I've printed out all the other
notes on this topic; however, I'm working like a dog to meet some
deadlines, so it'll be awhile before I take the time to read them.
Lori Lathrop ----------> INTERNET:76620 -dot- 456 -at- compuserve -dot- com
Lathrop Media Services
P.O. Box 808
Georgetown, CO 80444