Content management techniques

Knowing what to put in your index makes the difference between a good and a bad index. Word processors have got us used to the type of indexing where you think of a keyword and then mark every occurrence of it throughout the document. This is a very poor way of indexing, because it does not take context into account, and usually produces a list containing many meaningless entries.

A good index should let your readers find every pertinent statement made in your document. To create a good index for your document, make entries for:

  • Variations of the topic's heading.
  • The main concepts in the topic.
  • Categorization of subjects.
  • Synonyms.
  • Cross references, or entries that point to other entries in your index. For example, Modifying, See Changing. For more information, see Creating "See" Entries in the Index.

Indexing is a whole subject in its own right, and there are many readily available resources that go into much greater depth than we can here.

Author-it's indexing objects

Author-it provides two objects to help you build a good index. First is the Index object, which is the index itself and will automatically create a basic index for you. The second is the Index Entry object, which represents a single entry in the index.

You can create headings and sub-headings in your index by moving your Index Entry objects into a hierarchy within the Index object. When you do this, Author-it recommends that you use a title case for the heading and lower case for all entries under that heading.