Re: Indexing HTML documents

Subject: Re: Indexing HTML documents
From: Lori Lathrop <76620 -dot- 456 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 7 Nov 1995 10:58:13 EST

In response to Gretchen Toth (glt -at- iconovex -dot- com), who asks whether
hyperlinked HTML documents and other online documents require an index
and whether my indexing workshops disucss creating indexes for online
documents ....

First, I apologize for responding so late to your posting of 10/26; I was
gone longer than I'd expected to be, and I've been digging my way through
stacks of snail mail, e-mail, faxes, and phone messages for the past
three days.

Yes, I do think that online documents should be indexed, no matter how
good the hypertext links are, because the index provides readers with a
topic analysis that shows how various topics relate to each other. No
other retrievability tool does that. Also, in online documents it is
especially important to include index entries for concepts that are not
explicitly stated in the text and, therefore, probably would not have
hypertext links.

And, yes, my workshops do contain a module on creating indexes for online
documentation. BTW, in October, I delivered presentations on indexing
online documents for the STC Region 4 Conference in Chicago and for the
Practical Conference on Communication (PCOC) in Oak Ridge, TN. However,
if you didn't attend either of those conferences and if you can't get a
copy of the proceedings for them, you might want to request a copy of the
Summer 1995 issue of _HyperViews_ (the newsletter of the STC Online
Information Professional Interest Committee) from the STC Office
(stc -at- tmn -dot- com) or from Mary Deaton (marymd -at- halcyon -dot- com). That issue
contains my article, "Considerations in Indexing Online Documents" and an
excellent article by Mary Deaton on printed vs. online documents.

About Web Pages ... IMHO, if a Web Page is organized well and if it isn't
exceptionally large, an index probably isn't necessary. However, I liked
the ideas in Yvonne DeGraw's (yvonne -at- silcom -dot- com) posting; alphabetic
indexes would certainly be helpful for large Web sites where keywords are
mentioned in many places but discussed in detail in only one or two

BTW, if you haven't seen the American Society of Indexers (ASI) Web Page,
take a look; the URL is:

Lori Lathrop ----------> INTERNET:76620 -dot- 456 -at- compuserve -dot- com
Lathrop Media Services, P.O. Box 3065, Idaho Springs, CO 80452
Office: 303-567-4011 / Home: 303-567-9533

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