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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why indexing important?

An indexer creates an index in one of two ways: 
  • An index can be created as a separate document (the historical method)
  • An index can be created as part of the document that is being indexed (embedded indexing). This method is becoming popular. In the field of technical writing for software, it is the primary method.

    With the first method, the indexer manually specifies the pages to which a particular term in the index refers. If the page layout changes, the index must be corrected manually, even if software is used to create the index. With embedded indexing, the indexer puts a marker (also known as a tag or a code) at each location in the document at which the term is relevant. Software generates the index based on the markers. If text is moved, the markers move with it, and the index can be regenerated easily. If text is deleted, the markers are also deleted, and the index can be regenerated. The index still requires manual checking.

For example, possibly, cross-references are not valid now. When considering the given scenario the documentation should be consisted with a proper index. If the users of the system wants to know that some information is not available, they will not waste time looking for the information. However, think that the information is available, and if they cannot find it after a period of unsuccessful searching, they will give up searching. To avoid these kinds of things we can include a proper index at the last page of the documentation.

Here are few advantages of indexing

  1. Organizes information that is scattered through a document.
  2. Supplies search terms that tell the reader the locations of applicable information in the document and don't waste time looking for the information

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