Re: Number of index items per page?

Subject: Re: Number of index items per page?
From: RAHEL A BAILIE <rbailie -at- NEWBRIDGE -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 1999 10:18:04 -0700

Of my 1000 pages of content, I end up with a 38-page, 2-column index. My rule of
thumb (based on a workshop taken many years ago) is approx. 2 entries per
heading, and more if "stray facts" appear in the section. I define stray facts
as pieces of information that a user might not find by looking through the ToC
or in an obvious place.

In other words, if a ToC section is on Alarms, and something about fire
extinguishers got mentioned in the context of setting off alarms, the listings
might look like this:

fire, 3.1-1
fire extinguishers, 3.1-2
gas, 3.2-1
smoke, 3.1-2

fire alarms
extinguishers setting off, 3.1-2
setting off, 3.1-1

gas alarms
alarms, 3.2-1

fire extinguishers
alarms, setting off, 3.1-2
inspection, 9.1-7
installation, 9.1-1

My experience has been that I could have found the information in the
"predictable references" by using the ToC, but the "unexpected" references have
proven quite useful.

"Bowes, Rebecca A" wrote:

> I took an indexing workshop several years ago and I seem to recall
> that the instructor said a common ratio was one page of index for each ten
> pages of manual. So, if you have a 350-page manual, for example, you'd
> probably have a 35-page index. However, I suspect that the ratio of index
> pages to manual pages really varies quite a bit depending on the complexity
> of the manual's content.

Rahel Anne Bailie, Senior Technical Writer
ATMnet Customer Documentation Group
Newbridge Networks Corp (Newbridge West)
400-4190 Still Creek Drive, Burnaby, BC V5C 6C6

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