Hot answers tagged indexing
What goes into your index will be defined by your readers' needs. How will they use your book? Will they come in with knowledge of (and vocabulary from) a related subject? Are they experts or novices or some of each? An index's primary job is to have an answer when somebody comes to it with a question. Here are some guidelines that I've learned over ...
I would say it depends on how the item is discussed in the body of the book. If a Markov chain is something referred to as a single entity, then index it as a single item. If you discuss several of them at once, or generalize (like saying "black holes have thus-and-such properties"), I'd use the plural.
From experience I would suggest as much as possible. Many writers/editors try to be smart and reduce the size of the index, but then you end up looking for something you know is in the book, but you can't find it. If you want include a qucik index with the most common or prominent items too. The other thing is the TOC, I would suggest two versions there ...
What goes in your index will be defined by your topic. A book on prefixes will list prefixes. Other books won't. Names of authors of scientific papers don't usually go into the index, but historical figures will. And so on. You might even have words in your index that don't appear in your text but are different names for the same thing (e.g. Latin plant ...
Keep in mind that you are talking about creating concordances, not subject indexes. Subject indexes cannot be done automatically but require human analysis for substance and quality. For quality results, a good search will search both the text and the human-created index, thereby giving you both concordance findings as well as analysis for relations, ...
It might be worth employing the services of a professional indexer to create the index as a separate document, rather than generate the index from embedded codes. The types of difficulties that you have noted are familiar to indexers. An index written by an indexer is probably only applicable to a PDF though.
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