Re: Re. Table of contents for figures/tables

Subject: Re: Re. Table of contents for figures/tables
From: "Dan S. Azlin" <dazlin -at- SHORE -dot- NET>
Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 02:30:01 -0400

It occurs to me that any figure important enough to list in a table of
figures is also important enough to have an identifying caption. I have
never felt comfortable leaving it up to the reader to interpret the
relevant identity of a figure, especially when it is not the only option
or is referenced from elsewhere in the text. The only time I don't use
captions is if the figure is meant as an icon or as decoration. In most
technical documents the figure are there for a purpose and should be
identifiable without question.

Note: This is also useful when the printer goof on a figure placement.
The recently happened to me in an article I ghosted for EDN. The
magazine layout people reversed two figures, but not the captions.
Fortunately, it was obvious that the caption did not fit the figure, but
did fit that relative section of the text. It was a salvagable situation
(even if maddening).

On Fri, 15 Sep 1995, Geoff Hart wrote:

> I don't remember ever having used a table of
> figures or tables to find anything... being a
> decidedly text-based life form, I've always found
> the subject or topic that was appropriate in a
> table of contents or index, flipped to that
> section, and skimmed the section until the figure
> or table jumped out at me. Nonetheless, I've met
> enough folks (economists particularly) who really
> like these tables of contents that I consider them
> a good idea.

> But here's a problem: how do you index figures
> that have no formal captions without going back
> and adding (often unnecessary) titles to each
> figure? Best I can come up with is a visual index:
> provide a thumbnail sketch of each figure on the
> pages following the text table of contents. Any
> better suggestions?

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

> Disclaimer: If I didn't commit it in print in one
> of our reports, it don't represent FERIC's
> opinion.

Dan Azlin ** WORD ENGINEERS, Technical Writing & Publishing **
Ph/Fax: 508-921-8908 18 School Street
Internet: dazlin -at- shore -dot- net Beverly, MA 01915-4851

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