Online Indexing for Win3.1 and 95 Help

Subject: Online Indexing for Win3.1 and 95 Help
From: Sheldon Siegel <sheldon -dot- siegel -at- ATTWS -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 12 Apr 1996 14:39:00 PDT

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this list, and am excited about learning what all the rest of you
tech writers may be talking about these days.

My current burning issue is about online indexing.

***WARNING*** this is a long, rambling e-mail ... leave now while you still
can! ***WARNING***

I want to create a single set of WinHelp keywords that will work well in
both the single-level Win3.1-style Search dialog, and in the two-level
Win95-style Index tab.

Here goes:

1) If you break up your keywords with commas:

K Introduction, to charts;
K Introduction, to data;
K Introduction, to exporting files

3.1 Search yields:

Introduction, to charts
Introduction, to data
Introduction, to exporting files

and the 95 Index yields:

Introduction, to charts
to data
to exporting files

NEGATIVE: the first line of the list in the 95 Index looks strange.

POSSIBLE SOLUTION: place an "Introduction," keyword into one of the topics:

K Introduction, to charts;Introduction,;
K Introduction, to data;
K Introduction, to exporting files

NOTE: If you don't include the comma ("Introduction,"), a keyword like
"Introduction topics" would get stuck in with other "Introduction" base
words. Once the compiler has set a base word, such as "Introduction", it
would consider both "Introduction topics" and "Introduction, to charts" to
be part of the same set of keywords.

Then, 3.1 Search yields:

Introduction,
Introduction, to charts
Introduction, to data
Introduction, to exporting files

and the 95 Index yields:

Introduction
to charts
to data
to exporting files

NEGATIVES: a) this looks terrible for 3.1; and b) you have to decide and
maintain where the lone "Introduction," keyword will go ... should it go to
ALL of the Introduction topics, or just the key one, or ??? ... if there are
a LOT of topics, you could end up with 20 "hits."


2) It gets a little more complicated if you happen to have a keyword that
matches the {base word} of another keyword like: {base word, secondary word}
-- or of another keyword like: {base word and another word} ...

For example, the keywords: "Airtime column" and "Airtime column, Avg" and
"Airtime column, Roaming" look great:

In 3.1 Search:

Airtime column
Airtime column, Avg
Airtime column, Roaming

And in Win 95:

Airtime column
Avg
Roaming

BUT if you have the same set of keywords, plus "Airtime column enhanced" ...
you get:

In 3.1 Search:

Airtime column
Airtime column enhanced
Airtime column, Avg
Airtime column, Roaming

And in Win 95:

Airtime column
Airtime column enhanced
Airtime column, Avg
Roaming

If instead, you add the comma after the base word entry, "Airtime column,"
you get:

In 3.1 Search:

Airtime column enhanced
Airtime column,
Airtime column, Avg
Airtime column, Roaming

And in Win 95:

Airtime column enhanced
Airtime column,
Avg
Roaming


SOOOO, from all this, it seems the best solution is to:

a) Just continue making a list like in #1 above, and live with the
strange-looking first line in the Win95 Index tab (this means DON'T include
the base words, by themselves, followed by a comma, in order to make the
list look better in Win95).

b) If you run into a situation where a word is added onto the base word of
another keyword (like "Airtime column enhanced" above), either live with it
looking like the examples directly above, or make it fit into the scheme by
adding a comma after the existing base word ... ("Airtime column,
enhanced").


3) I have a general indexing issue that no one has been able to help me
with; I thought that keywords/index entries always HAD to form a grammatical
structure, so that if you wanted to search "Centering poems on a page" on
the word "poems" ... you'd have to create a keyword like: "Poems on a page,
centering" (so that if it was put together, it would make sense) ...

But, it reads terribly, and I've noticed that even in the Chicago Manual of
Style, they'll take a word, or phrase, right out of the middle of a string
like that, and manipulate it in such a way that it reads better in the
index: for example, "Poems, centering on a page."

Do you know of any rules that handle these types of instances?

For example, how would you index the keyword (from a Q&A topic), "What if
there's not enough memory to run the application?" on the word "Memory"?

"Memory, too low to run the application"

or

"Memory to run the application, what to do if there's not enough"

or

"Memory too low, what to do"

or

????


THANKS A LOT in advance for any information you might offer,

Sheldon Siegel
AT&T Wireless Services
sheldon -dot- siegel -at- attws -dot- com

_________________________________________________________________
John Prine lyric of the day:

I'm cold and I'm tired and I can't stop coughing
long enough to tell you all of the news,
I'd like to tell you that I'll see you more often,
but often is a word I seldom use
Often is a word I seldom use


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