Short TOCs

Subject: Short TOCs
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 1997 13:02:08 -0500

Matthew Long wondered <<How short is too short for a table
of contents? I am prducing 10-20 page technical

Depends on the audience and the goal. If you've got more
than 4 pages, why not put one in? It won't take any time to
do, and it'll help the people who expect it. The only case
in which I routinely omit a table of contents is in our
research reports of up to 8 pages: they all follow the
standard science format (abstract, intro, methods...), so
everybody already knows the contents and their sequence. We
also know from a survey that the audience skims the reports
cover to cover anyway, pausing only to browse on the
occasional paragraph. For our longer reports, or ones with
a nonstandard sequence, there's always a TOC.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

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