Real Database Publishing tools

Subject: Real Database Publishing tools
From: "Engstrom, Douglas D." <EngstromDD -at- PHIBRED -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 1996 14:21:44 -0500

>From: Engstrom, Douglas D.
>Sent: Monday, October 07, 1996 2:01 PM
>To: 'Technical Writer's List'
>Subject: Real Database Publishing tools


>I'm looking for some help with a database publishing task; also an indexing
>task, in a way.

>It has been my misfortune to pick up the task of producing my company's
>international phone book. Actually, I've been at it for about a year now,
>and the data is finally in something like manageable condition, and we know
>how we want to organize it. (We've also suffered from scope creep, massive
>reorganization, and assorted other ills, but hey, who's counting?)

>We want a main section that organizes everyone by country and then by
>organization. This is the "main entry" containing name, title, business
>address, home and work phone numbers, fax numbers, etc. We crank this out as
>an MS Access report. Although assembling, cleansing and formatting the data
>has been a bit of a bear, that's done.

>We also want a table of contents listing the page number for each
>organization and country. This is not hard to do in, say, MS Word after
>exporting the Access report to a .RTF file.

>We also want a alphabetical listing of all the names, with a page number for
>their main entry and (ideally) a phone number as well. And therein lies the
>rub. The document is big (250+ pages, a little fewer than 4,000 entries) At
>this size, the MS Word index marking algorithm "gets tired" and starts
>skipping entries after a while, and won't index anything containing a hyphen.
> (Tech support informs me these are "known flaws." !?!?!) So Word is out.
>We've tried exporting to PageMaker, but that requires and incredibly
>convoluted index-marking routine that requires us to hand assemble and
>disassemble the main section. Art support time is becoming more expensive, so
>we need a more automated solution.

>I can't believe that we're the first company of our size in the world to try
>this, and I can't believe that most companies our size would tolerate this
>crap, so there's got to be a solution out there someplace. I'm in search of
>software, I think.

>With the ideal system, we could feed the Access master table, a
>comma-delimited file, or other databasish structure in one side, and the
>phone book would pop out the other in some sort of editable format. Failing
>that, is there some system out there that can swallow and index a large,
>"marked" .RTF file and produce a table of contents and index without lots of
>hand-work? -Somebody- has got to be producing long, highly-structure

>I'd appreciate direct replies, as I'm a digest subscriber to this list. That
>will also hold down traffic on what is probably a pretty narrow topic for
>this group. I'll post a summary if there's enough interest in the question.


>Doug Engstrom "Please God, or someone, make it easier."
>ENGSTROMDD -at- phibred -dot- com -- The Indigo Girls

>Similarity between my expressed opinions and those of Pioneer Hi-Bred
>is completely coincidental.

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