Re: "Forward" referencing

Subject: Re: "Forward" referencing
From: Kat Nagel <katnagel -at- eznet -dot- net>
To: "Bonna Savarise" <Bonna_Savarise -at- NOTES -dot- YMP -dot- GOV>, TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Sat, 04 Sep 1999 15:34:19 -0400

At 11:54 AM 09/01/1999 +0000, you wrote:
>Has anybody ever run into this situation: an author wants to use what he
>calls "forward" referencing--that is, he wants to reference figures in an
>early section that actually appear in a later section.

Yes. It's very common with complex academic publications, like textbooks
or conference proceedings, especially medical textbooks where more than 20
authors author can be involved, or proceedings where the same author
presented more than one paper at the conference. Generally, the figure is
placed wherever the most detailed discussion of that figure will be.
Simple references can then go either forward or backward.

>We also considered gathering all of the figures together in one volume and
>numbering them independently of the sections.

While I generally don't like separate figure sections, it sounds like it
might be a reasonable way to handle the situation in this case.

>Problem is, we won't have the
>production time to renumber them in the order they appear in the document.

Why bother? If the user will have to go to a separate volume, the order of
the figures in that volume is irrelevant. Give 'em accession numbers, use
a topic keyword somewhere in the title or caption, and make sure you have
both a numerical Table of Figures at the beginning and a superb index at
the end. Both of those can be done after you have everything else in place.

Of course, it's not the 'ideal' way to organize a book. But---hey!---this
isn't an 'ideal' world, is it? Sometimes we have to compromise in order to
get useful information into the hands of those who need it RIGHT NOW. The
trick is to do that in a way that gives the user a reasonable chance of
finding the information they need. The Table of Figures (for people who
remember figure numbers or titles) and the index (for people who remember
what the figure is about) will do that.

This approach will save you a great deal of grief, since you can assign the
accession numbers in the order you receive the figures, and forget about
changing them ever again, even if you change the order of the chapters.

Go for it, and save your energy for convincing the company to do the whole
thing on a searchable CD next time <g>.

Good luck!
Kat Nagel
MasterWork Consulting Services
katnagel -at- eznet -dot- net

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