Re: Indexing style refs

Subject: Re: Indexing style refs
From: Jan Henning <henning -at- r-l -dot- de>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 22:56:33 +0200

Isn't the purpose of an index to provide synonyms? 20 people reading documentation will think of 20 different words for the same concept when they consult the index. (Or am I missing the point?)

Probably. You're right in that the index should contain every reasonable synonym for a term (generally speaking) because you cannot be sure which term the user chooses.

But all the synonyms should point to the main term instead of appearing as independetn entries, and this is just not going to happen without some kind of dictionary.

For example, what you want is:
Bonaparte: see Napoleon
Napoleon 13, 52, 84, 129, 133
Small emperor with funny hat: see Napoleon

What you'd get with ten indexers but without a dictionary is:
Bonaparte 52
Napoleon 84, 129
Napoleon Bonaparte 133
Small emperor with funny hat 13
Small emperor with a funny hat: see Napoleon

But you're certainly right to point out the value of synonyms, so I propose the following classification:
Good: using a list of terms
Better: using a list of terms and all the synonyms you can think of
Best: using a list plus all the synonyms you can think of and adding the synonyms (with references to the main entry) to the list

Jan Henning
Jan Henning
Am Schlossberg 14, D-82547 Eurasburg, Germany

Phone: +49 700 0200 0700, Fax: +49 8179 9307-12
E-Mail: henning -at- r-l -dot- de, Web:


RE: Indexing style refs: From: Anita Legsdin

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