Everything you wanted to know about indexing Presentation goals This presentation is not: The perfect index recipe An opportunity to hurl insults at Darrel E. Darrel
An opportunity to clarify misconceptions about indexing Presentation goals This presentation is: An introduction to indexing terminology and methods A nudge to get you thinking about your index An introduction to indexing ecstasy
An elaborate table of contents An outline of the book A simple concordance or alphabetized word list What is an index? Well... it’s not:
A navigational tool, like a roadmap A systematic arrangement of topics and concepts found within a book What is an index? An index is:
Identifies, systematically arranges, and locates appropriate information in the book Draws together scattered information What must an index do? At a minimum, it: In addition, it should: Identify and correlate concepts Refocus misdirected user inquiries Discriminate between significant discussion and passing mention of a topic
What must the indexer do? Identify, arrange, and locate information by creating alphabetized entries with page locators... Cataloguing, 1-16 Indexing art of, 2-19 defined, 2-17 print versus online, 2-26 technical considerations, 2-31 see also Cataloguing, Tabulating Tabulating, 3-45
What must the indexer do? Gather scattered information... Journal entries overview, 4-20 posting, 4-21 revising, 6-24 About Journal EntriesPosting Journal Entries
What must the indexer do? Identify and correlate concepts... The following concepts: passwords login restrictions read-only permission Imply the concept: security
What must the indexer do? Refocus misdirected user inquiries... From one keyword to its alternatives: subroutines. See macros From a main heading to a subentry elsewhere: 3D animation. See Extreme 3D: animation From spelling variations: van Gogh. See Gogh, Vincent van
What must the indexer do? Discriminate between significant and passing mention of a topic... Work With Journal Entries form, 2-11, 2-13, 2-18, 5-36
Author Indexing—Pros & Cons Familiar with the book and its subject matter Over-involvement and loss of objectivity Lack of time Pro: Unfamiliar with the indexing process Con: Fatigue Hate to index
Embedded Indexing—Pros & Cons Page locators are not linked to specific pages and can move with the text Difficult to revise and update in Interleaf Difficult to maintain over several revision cycles Pro: Difficult to ensure consistent terminology Con: Indexing can begin before the book is complete Difficult to find see and see also references
Audience Considerations Casual users Desperate users Who reads these things?
Audience Considerations There’s a funny little binocular button on my OneWorld Explorer and the HoverHelp says “Word Search.” What should I look under in the index? Desperate user:
Indexing Terminology Entry: The main heading and all that accompanies it. Main Heading: The first line in the entry. Subentries: Indented lines that follow the main heading. Sometimes referred to as x-level subheads, such as 2nd level. Reference locators: Page numbers.
Example: Index Entry Index entries action-oriented, 78 classification schemes, 73 defined, 13 singular versus plural, 75 See also Main headings Main Heading Subentry Cross-reference Reference Locator
Indexing Terminology Double-Posting Double-posting is a means to provide multiple access points for the same information. The term was borrowed from bookkeeping. Double-posting often replaces see also cross- references. Journal entries, revising, 2-11 Revising journal entries, 2-11
Example: Double-Posting Indexing art of, 2-19 defined, 2-17 print versus online, 2-26 technical considerations, 2-31 see also Cataloguing, Tabulating Online indexing compared to print, 2-26 methods, 4-17 Print indexing compared to online, 2-26 compiling a print index, 3-3
Is it always necessary to double-post? It depends on the time that you have and whether you think that a user is likely to look for information under different parts of a phrase. For example, the following entry gains little by double-posting the individual software titles. Importing clipart Adobe PhotoShop, 3-5 Corel Draw, 3-2 PaintShop Pro, 3-12 In this case, people are more likely to look up the task than the product. (This is very subjective, though--You should always consider the context and the audience.) Double-Posting
Guidelines: Main Headings Gerunds: Posting journal entries Printing exception reports Adjective/Noun Combinations: Hardware requirements Help menu Nouns: Prerequisites Reports Main headings should never begin with articles, prepositions, or conjunctions.
Guidelines: Subentries Nouns: Security passwords Adjective/Adverbs: Results mismatched Subdivide main headings : Results window illustration refreshing Phrases: Requisition numbers entering after purchase order receipt
Guidelines: Plural versus Singular Use the plural form for nouns for which you typically express in numbers and for which you could reasonably ask “how many?” rocks journal entries receipts Use the singular form for nouns for which you typically ask “how much?” air water bulk stock inventory
So What Should I Index??? The minimum topics that you are required to index are as follows: Task headers Major topics and concepts Forms Programs and IDs User defined code lists Reports Would such an index be a good index?
So What Should I Index??? As time allows, you should also consider indexing the following: User synonyms Figures, tables, and examples Acronyms and abbreviations New or special terminology Warnings, restrictions and cautions Definitions
Index Length The generally accepted guideline for technical documentation is 1 two-column page of index entries for every 20 pages of documentation. Thus, a 100-page guide (not including front matter and non-indexable back matter such as the glossary) would have a 5-page index. Such an index is known as a 5% index.
Interleaf and WinHelp Considerations Token placement for Winhelp Maximum number of tokens per line Page ranges--why you can’t use ’em See/See also cross-references-how to find ’em Font size of index tokens
Self-Editing Your Index Limit entries to 3 levels and preferably only 2 Strive for no more than 2 page locators for each entry Edit for consistent usage of singular and plural forms Check subjects to determine if slight variations of wording can be combined Check each subentry to determine whether it should also appear as a primary entry
Editing Your Index Check the number of the subentries under the various forms of the same topic to see that they are the same. Check each See reference to verify that it refers to an existing entry. If some entries seem overly dense, containing multiple subentries with only one page locator for each, try to combine them. Likewise, try to simplify lengthy subentries.
Tips for Better Indexing Adapted from The Art of Indexing by Larry Bonura Remember--indexing is authoring Schedule an index edit with your editor Schedule indexing in your task matrix and don’t wait until the end to begin Generate the index frequently to check spelling, plurals, consistent terminology, and so on Recruit peers to check for accuracy, appropriate depth, conciseness, cross-references, and structure Develop a habit of indexing while writing
A Short Bibliography of Indexing Bonura, Larry S. The Art of Indexing. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1994. Mulvany, Nancy C. Indexing Books. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 1994. University of Chicago Press. “Indexes,” in The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. “The Indexer” and “Key Words.” Periodicals published by the American Society of Indexers. P.O. Box 386, Port Aransas, TX 78373. http://www.asindexing.org