Book Review: Read Me First!

Subject: Book Review: Read Me First!
From: Lori Lathrop <76620 -dot- 456 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 01:11:36 EST

How convenient that _Read Me First: A Style Guide for the Computer Industry_
(which I ordered after reading a recent announcement by Janice Gelb) arrived
when I happened to be between indexing projects (a rare occurrence!) :-)

Naturally, I turned directly to Chapter 9, Indexing, and I'm delighted to say
that I was very impressed with what I found there. As the introduction to
Chapter 9 alludes, indexes enhance product usability. In addition to affecting
customers' perceptions of the product, indexes affect customers' perceptions of
the developer's credibility.

Many surveys have shown that one of the biggest complaints end users of
technical manuals have is the inability to find the information they need. That
doesn't have to be the case. If technical writers apply the guidelines in this
Chapter, they will avoid some of the most common indexing pitfalls.

Some of the best guidelines focus on strategies for developing concise, specific
index entries and on techniques for enhancing the index by double-posting
entries, using meaningful cross-references, finding the right balance (not
over-indexing or under-indexing), and editing the index.

All in all, I must say, the indexing guidelines in this style guide are much
better than the indexing guidelines I've seen in other books on developing
documentation for the computer industry. BTW, in case you're wondering, I have
no connection with Sun Microsystems, Inc., and they did not ask me to write this
review! ;-)

If you want to find the book, here's the info you need:

Title: Read Me First: A Style Guide for the Computer Industry
- book & CD-ROM edition by Sun Technical Publications (Editor)
Published by Prentice Hall Computer Books (January 1997)
ISBN: 0134553470, Paperback - 250 pages

Lori
*********************************************************************
Schedule - INDEXING SKILLS WORKSHOP FOR TECHNICAL COMMUNICATORS:
MARCH: Boston, New York, Washington, DC
APRIL: Minneapolis, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles
JUNE: Orlando, Chicago, and Denver

Lori Lathrop ---------->INTERNET:76620 -dot- 456 -at- compuserve -dot- com
Lathrop Media Services, P.O. Box 3065, Idaho Springs, CO 80452
Office: 303-567-4447, ext. 28 / Fax: 303-567-9306
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