Re: Indexing online documents

Subject: Re: Indexing online documents
From: "Susan Self @ignite" <susan -at- ALSYS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 1996 11:20:38 PDT

Lori Lathrop asked for some solutions:

>Susan -- I think we're both making the best of what we have to work with,
>and I think we're experiencing the same frustrations with inadequate tools.
>So, aside from critical comments, what "solutions" do *you* have to offer???


David Blyth had the good idea of using a search engine for an index.
The user enters the word or phrase they want to look up and presses a button,
In one implementation, the user is then shown a display of all the index
entries containing that word or phrase. Each of the entries contains links
to the places in the files. The user then selects a desired link, and the
file with the information is displayed. In another implementation, the result
of the search could be just to take the user to the first place in the index
where the word or phrase occurs. The first method loses the ability to see
subentries for the word or phrase. The second method casts a narrower
net so the user doesn't see other entries that might be of interest.

In any case, you can have two scopes for a search engine in your online
documentation, one for the entire document set and one for the index
to the document set. You can also have the alphabetical letters
entry method for your index, where each index page has the letters
of the alphabet at the top of the page and you click on the letter
to see that section of the index.

The search engine I am considering, for UNIX, is "glimpse," which
is available from:

The sources are also provided, so I suppose one could recompile them
for Windows or the Mac, after making some OS-dependent modifications.
You might check out the "glimpse" web site above, as they have links to
many sites that are already using the tool. You can then do searches
yourself at those sites and get a feel for how such a search engine works.

Susan Self
susan -at- thomsoft -dot- com

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