Indexing Online Docs Was Re: Indexing HTML documents

Subject: Indexing Online Docs Was Re: Indexing HTML documents
From: Rose Wilcox <RWILC -at- FAST -dot- DOT -dot- STATE -dot- AZ -dot- US>
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 1995 12:09:00 PST

Re Online document indexing, Bill wrote:

>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
>topic online manual.

We took a different tack, providing both a full-text search engine *and* a
"indexed" list of Search keywords with our Winhlp products. We decided that
some users would find full-text search more illuminating, but others would
learn from the types of keywords we provided. Since providing an index is a
"writing task" and not automated, it forces us to look at the material we've
provided in new ways. We feel that the user can learn something about how
the product is organized just by reading the search keywords.

Sometimes it can guide the reader in searching for information. For
instance, if a reader types in "Changing" and gets sent to an entry for
"editing", he or she quickly picks up that the program calls "changing"
"editing". If the reader goes to full-text search and enters "changing",
the topic he or she is looking for may or may not contain the word
"changing", since the standard within the program is "editing".

That's just an example. It may or may not be a good example :-), but it's
my theory for justifying taking the time, and it does take time, for adding
*good* search keywords to a Windows help file that also includes full-text

On the Web, there seem to be no such indexing capabilities as such, but
there is full-text search available, in general.

Rosie A. Wilcox (the "A" stands for "Added Value")
rwilc -at- fast -dot- dot -dot- state -dot- az -dot- us
ncrowe -at- primenet -dot- com

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