Re: Section numbering

Subject: Re: Section numbering
From: Dan 'Fergus' Roberts <droberts -at- PANIX -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 1995 00:01:52 -0400

Cepek, Marta (marta -at- m3isystems -dot- qc -dot- ca) wrote:
: Geoff Hart wrote:

: What I'd like to know is if anyone out there feels the opposite way.
: What advantages does section numbering have over doing away with the
: numbers? Are there any cases where more standard heading conventions
: simply don't work?

I think it's easier to find 14.7.6 on a page (particularly if
: it's hanging in the margin) than "Results: Test subject number 7: Test
: parameter number 6". First of all, I only have to scan the numbers in the
: margin, not the actual text on the page. As well, the heading numbering
: lets me know the level of the heading (subordination). This is not always
: obvious from the heading typeface.

: I've been working on almost nothing but specifications for the last year or
: so, so maybe I have it as a habit. I think section numbering provides both
: a linear *and* a heirarchical sequence to the document, particularly when
: subjects are nested. When I write "The Analysis function accesses the Load
: Flow Analysis module - see section 22.3", I think it's much clearer to point
: readers to this kind of reference, rather than expecting them to intuitively
: know that I have a section *somewhere* in this non-alphabetically-arranged
: document that deals with it. I'd rather refer to section 22.3 here, than to
: send them scanning the table of contents not knowing under which other
: subsections it might be buried.

Is this numbering question an either/or?
Are there any reasons why one might not want to use both
a section number *and* a title?
Pure section numbering would seem to have no way of helping the reader keep
track of what topioc he is reading, or where in the flow of the narrative he
is. Of course, a writer might ineffectively use textual section headings,
and still manage to leave the reader clueless.

As for cross-referencing - any cross reference is better than none <g> - no
matter whether it is a number ref or a text ref.
Dan 'Fergus' Roberts
droberts -at- panix -dot- com

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