Reply: Indexing acronyms

Subject: Reply: Indexing acronyms
From: Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Mon, 3 Apr 1995 11:08:11 LCL

Speaking as a user of indexes rather than as a professional indexer, I
was curious to see the suggestion of creating a separate acronym index
or glossary of acronyms, in addition to the regular index. You could
do this, but sincepart of the original question asked about how to
alphabetize the acronyms, this doesn't provide the full solution. It
could also be inefficient, given that readers may look in only the
main index for the acronym.

Two suggestions:
1. If you include the acronyms, put them in standard alphabetical
order, just as if they were real English words. Thus, FAT comes before
"file allocation table" (FA < fi) and "FRAME" comes after "fractal"
(frac < FRAM). Capitalisation doesn't affect word order in most
indexes (and I don't see any reason why it should).

2. Consider repeating the index information (page numbers and any
subheading) instead of cross-referencing, particularly if the
information is short. Don't you hate flipping through dozens of pages
in a phone book only to find "Hospital: see Lakeshore General Regional
Hospital and Emergency Clinic", when "Hospital: 555-5555" works just
as well, and is far faster? Your readers will feel the same. Even for
longer information (perhaps as many as a few dozen lines), repeating
the index information is more helpful to the reader.

--Geoff Hart #8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca


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