Re: Should a glossary be indexed?

Subject: Re: Should a glossary be indexed?
From: "Chuck Martin" <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
To: techwr-l
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2004 15:52:39 -0800

"Jan Henning" <henning -at- r-l -dot- de> wrote in message news:230646 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> > It seems to me that the answer would be no, but I came across one
> > today so thought I might pose the question to the community at large.
> Yes, every glossary term should be in the index, for a simple reason:
> If you do not index the glossary, you force the reader to look in two
> places. If you index it, the reader need only look in the index.
OK, I don't understand this point of view. It seems to me that if you do put
a glossary term in the index, than the reader is looking in 2 places: the
index, then the glossary.

An index is an entry point into a book, a main one. When readers look for
information, they depend on an index to show them where they can find that
information. While glossaries are information, they are like a mini
dictionary, defining terms in order in one concentrated section. I'd think
that if readers want a term defined, they will go directly to the glossary
and bypass the index entirely.

Plus, readers aren't likely to be using the glossary on entry to the book.
Rather, they are already in the book reading and come upon an unfamiliar
term. If that book has a glossary, it's commonly at the end, just before the
index, and so readers go directly there looking.

I think the only time you'd put glossary terms in the index is if you're
defining terms within or beside the text. Many books define terms in the
margins when the terms are first used, and in that case I'd add index
entries that look like this:

defined ##

If the book also collects all those definintions in a glossary, I'm not sure
if I'd make 2 page entries.

Chuck Martin
User Assistance & Experience Engineer
twriter "at" sonic "dot" net

"I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. The day
may come when the courage of Men fail, when we forsake our friends and
break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day! This day, we fight!"
- Aragorn

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
- Gandalf

Should a glossary be indexed?: From: Stevenson, Rebecca

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