RE: Indexing style refs

Subject: RE: Indexing style refs
From: Jason Willebeek-LeMair <jlemair -at- cisco -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L (TECHWR-L)" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2003 08:47:35 -0500

Mandy wrote:
>> In a modern world...what is the advantage of having "Instrument
>> container, see toolbox" references, other than teaching readers that
>> "Instrument container" and "toolbox" are synonyms?

>> True, they've learned a new synonym, but then they have to look up
>> the information twice--is that good?

Amy agreed:
>My own experience tells me that this practice just frustrates me - when
>I see a "see other" reference, I sigh, flip to the appropriate section
>in the alphabet, locate the other "preferred" term, then flip to the page,
>all the while thinking, "if they were already taking the time to create
>the "see" reference, why couldn't they have just placed the page number
>there instead?"

Captain Smarty-pants chimes in:

But, how annoying is it to want to find out about instrument containers, be
directed to a page in the manual, and only see information about toolboxes?
I mean, if I had wanted to read about toolboxes, I would have looked it up
in the first place, right?

Okay, so maybe this example is not the best. A reasonable native speaker
could guess that instrument container and toolbox may be referring to the
same thing. But, would a non-native speaker make that connection? I know
that my audience includes a lot of non-native speakers of English, and I
want to make sure that they can find the information they need so that they
keep buying my company's products and making my stock valuable. 8-)

I can also recall several times that I have found something in the index,
and the page that was referred to did not contain that term at all. It was
very frustrating trying to map what I was thinking of to what the page was
saying. Perhaps a see reference would have helped me map the terminology
that I was used to to the terms that appeared in the document. And
prevented me from cursing the entire lineage of the person who wrote that


PS-Vote and Voting Button appear in the Outlook 2002 index. Maybe they
finally got a decent indexer in there.

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