Re: Automatic Indexing

Subject: Re: Automatic Indexing
From: "<Pam Owen>" <powen -at- MAIL2 -dot- LMI -dot- ORG>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 14:04:31 EST

Tara asked about an indexing package that will automatically create an index
from a list of words.

I just wanted to mention that Microsoft Word 6.0 can create such an index, from
a list you build called a "concordance." As far as I know, however, this feature
does not use Boolean logic. It will look for every occurrence of a word or
phrase and mark it for indexing. Its abilities are rather primative for making a
good index. For example, if you have a word twice in the concordance, such as
"data" and "data set," it will mark "data" only; it apparently can't distinguish
between the noun and the noun phrase. I find that if I build a concordance
carefully, with subheadings (which Word does support) and then check over, and
change as necessary, all the index tags, I can still build an index much more
quickly than manually tagging each word I want in the index.

The real trick, I think, is in understanding how and what to index. It's no
accident that indexing is considered a specialized field. When I get calls at my
company asking is we do indexing, I just say no. BTW, if any of you are
indexers, I'd like to get your resume. I muddle through making an index when I
have to (which is rarely), but do not take jobs that specifically involve that
task. I'd like to pass those jobs along, or know an indexer who can help when
we're facing developing a particularly thorny index.

Pam Owen
Nighthawk Communications
Reston, VA
Nighthawk1 -at- aol -dot- com, or powen -at- lmi -dot- org

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