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Subject: Re: [dita] Are indexterm ranges backwards incompatible?

I disagree with Paul, and agree with Tony and JoAnn.

I think sophisticated index readers generally take a page range to indicate a extended, and hence important, discussion of a topic.

I know all my friends in graduate school did, and used this information to speed their research.

I suppose there are always exceptions, however. As with all indexical signs, the significance is not explicit, but only implied.

Here, you just the weight of a discussion by the size of the wake it leaves.


Grosso, Paul wrote:

-----Original Message-----
From: JoAnn Hackos [mailto:joann.hackos@comtech-serv.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, 2006 August 16 09:26
To: Grosso, Paul
Cc: dita@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: RE: [dita] Are indexterm ranges backwards incompatible?

If you look at the major style guides and Nancy Mulvany's 
critical text,
Indexing Books, you'll find that professional indexers always point to
ranges as reflecting an important  and extended discussion of 
a subject
and that a series of point page references does not convey the same
information, but points to individual mentions of a topic. Ranges are
not designed to make the index easier to read but to convey a level of
importance about the subject matter. 

As a reader of indexes, I also assume the same level of 
importance of a
range of pages. That's where I tend to look first, unless the 
index uses
bold (another convention in print) to indicate a key page on the
subject. Many indexes, of course, do both.


Thanks for that information.

Unfortunately, we probably have about the same number
of years of experience in composition and working with
customers and reading major style guides on the issue, 
and I have lots of experience to support my view too
from both the creation and consumption side of indexes.

Furthermore, ranges and importance are by definition
orthogonal concepts, and while it may be reasonable in
some cases to reflect the semantic of importance via
the presentation of ranges, there is no inherently
required connection.  Where there is no inherently
required connection, it is best to leave the user free
to decide for themselves how best to reflect a given
semantic in their presentation.

So I would continue to argue that DITA should not make
a hardwired connection between the importance and ranges.


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