Re: Indexing HTML documents

Subject: Re: Indexing HTML documents
From: "Bledsoe,Bill" <bledsoebl -at- AGEDWARDS -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 1995 08:54:36 -0500

Gretchen, List,

We don't really do indexes in our online documents (WinHelp and Folio Views
Platforms). That's what we believe a good full-text search engine does for
you. Once pointed in the search engine's direction, we've found that the
user goes the technical equalivent of "bananas" when they enter a word in a
dialog box and in two seconds find every instance of that word across a 3000
topic online manual.

We do sometimes provide a "glossary" of terms. This glossary contains a
list of terms with hypertext links to their definitions.

However, if you were talking about HTML authoring in particular, I think
it's a whole different ball game because most Web sites don't have search
engines. The engines that are available, are suspect at best.

I still don't think the Index is worth the effort involved because the user
will most likely want to just keep "clicking" on hypertext until they find
something accidentally (Excerpted from Bill's famous "What's wrong with the
Web Speech #24 :-) ). There's a chance that a well thought out Hypertext
index could help the user here. But keep in mind, once the search
technology on the Web advances to the point where it is useful (Hyper-G??)
the index will go by the wayside there too.

Indexers: Not flaming indices they are invaluable in print, just throwing
in my $.02 worth about their function online.


Bill Bledsoe
A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc.
Systems Administration Center
Technical Writer

Bill's opinions are bill's, not Ben's or anyone else's at AGE

"Junk moved on line is still junk. You can bet that if they
didn't read the hard copy version, they won't read the
on-line version either!"
Dr. Conrad Gottfredson, On-line Document Guru-guy
From: Gretchen Toth
To: Multiple recipients of list TEC
Subject: Indexing HTML documents
Date: Thursday, October 26, 1995 9:03PM

We've had the online vs. paper documentation discussion
on this list; did anyone inquire about how indexes are
handled for online documentation, specifically when
the medium is HTML documents?

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