Re Indexing E. documents

Subject: Re Indexing E. documents
From: Lori Lathrop <76620 -dot- 456 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 29 May 1996 09:02:42 EDT

In response to Susan Self @ignite (susan -at- ALSYS -dot- COM), who says:

My audience is using the product on a UNIX platform,
so I cannot assume they would want to switch to Windows
to read documents online when they have hard copy, too.
[some stuff deleted}
If accessing an online index is cumbersome, the users
are likely to prefer searching the hard copy document
[some other stuff deleted]

Susan -- I can appreciate your situation, and I hope you can appreciate the fact
that I (and other professional indexers) are generally not working on a UNIX
platform. However, if some of your users have access to hardcopy documentation
(with good indexes), too, I would understand their preference for searching the
hardcopy document first, especially if online indexes are cumbersome.
Unfortunately, many so-called indexing tools for electronic docs *are*
cumbersome ... and, IMHO, that's an issue that developers of e-doc software need
to address.

Susan Self @ignite (susan -at- ALSYS -dot- COM), also says:

Regardless of platform differences, Lori's approach still
doesn't seem to address the problem of leafing through a
large online index in HTML format. Just because you have
an index doesn't mean that anyone wants to take the time
to use it.

Susan -- Do I sense some hostility toward me? If so, let's discuss whatever
issues you have privately. I agree with you that leafing through a large online
index in HTML format does not have much appeal; again, that's an issue that I
(and other professional indexers) are unlikely to solve for software developers.
IMHO, many people using online documentation become somehow transformed in much
the same way as some people are transformed when they get behind the wheel of a
car; they become more impatient, and they don't want anything to get in their
way. I can appreciate that, too, and I sincerely hope that software developers
will provide all of us with better "vehicles" some day.

Susan Self @ignite (susan -at- ALSYS -dot- COM), also says:

How much traffic does this list [INDEXL] have? I don't
have time for yet another list with petty squabbles over
details not central to my work.

Susan -- INDEX-L is a moderated list that has a fraction of the traffic you see
on TECHWR-L. No doubt, it does contain a lot of postings (related to library
science, scholarly/academic indexing issues, etc.) that would not be central to
your work; howver, it might be worth it for you to subscribe just so you can
mine the little "gems" it has from time to time. Also, IMHO, the subscribers to
INDEX-L generally do not engage in petty squabbles.


In response to David (The Unbiased) Blyth (dblythe -at- QUALCOMM -dot- COM) ...

Actually, I'd like to pick *your* brain! I'd like to know more about your
process for indexing HTML docs for Web sites. BTW, have you looked at the ASI
Web Site (html:// It has some resources that may
interest you; also, if it doesn't already have links to some Web sites with good
indexes, it soon will have them.

As far as I know, there isn't a newsgroup equivalent to INDEX-L ...but, if you
actually enjoy indexing (and are sick enough to admit it!), you may find it
worthwhile to subscribe. (Gee, I wish INDEX-L would pay me for every tech
writer who subscribes to it!) ;-)

To pique your insatiable curiosity, I do know about several techniques for
indexing CD-ROM docs and, if this thread doesn't interest others here on
TECHWR-L, I'll be happy to discuss these techniques with you offline.

Happy indexing .... Lori
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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