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

Hello Michael,
I am very enthusiastic about this proposal. I believe it incorporates all the issues we have been grappling with. Thank you for putting this together.

JoAnn T. Hackos, PhD
Comtech Services, Inc.
710 Kipling Street, Suite 400
Denver CO 80215



From: Michael Priestley [mailto:mpriestl@ca.ibm.com]
Sent: Monday, August 21, 2006 4:22 PM
To: Dana Spradley
Cc: dita@lists.oasis-open.org
Subject: Re: [dita] Are indexterm ranges backwards incompatible?

After some discussion with Bruce Esrig, we've got a compromise proposal documented here:

This compromise is designed, among other things, to leave the range/not range decision up to the author, by allowing ranges to be specified on a per-topic basis as well as a per-branch basis using the index range attributes.

See the heading "Proposal for indexing ranges", text copied here for ease of discussion:


Index entries are interpreted as point references. The index contains a reference to the point where the index entry is declared. If an index entry occurs in a topic prolog, the reference is to the start of the title of the topic.

Index ranges are structural. Most index range declarations refer to an entire topic or set of topics. The only exception is a range contained entirely within the body of a topic.

Index range indications may occur in the topicmeta of a topicref at the map level. Similarly, they may occur in the prolog of a topic. These two locations are architecturally equivalent, so either indication may appear in either place, and a match will still be recognized.

An index range start indication in the meta information for a topic is interpreted to indicate the start of the topic title. An index range end indication in the meta information for a topic is interpreted to indicate the end of the topic. This includes all subtrees of nested topics, including subtrees of the start and end topics and any intervening subtrees. The subtree of nested topics is included even when the range starts and ends in the meta information for the same topic.

An index range may start in the body of a topic. Such an index range ends at a matching index range end indication within the same body, or at the end of the body, whichever comes first. Such an index range does not span sub-topics of the topic.


Michael Priestley
IBM DITA Architect and Classification Schema PDT Lead

Dana Spradley <dana.spradley@oracle.com>

08/21/2006 06:01 PM

Re: [dita] Are indexterm ranges backwards incompatible?

Coming back to this issue today, I agree that a compromise is appropriate, given its relative triviality.

The only addition I'd make to Paul's previously suggested implementation statement would be to put indesterm start/end rendering in the hands of end users as well (my addition bolded):

"Index terms in prologs are neither ranges nor points. They are associated with the whole topic. DITA publishing implementations are encouraged to let the end-user choose whether to represent them as page ranges spanning an entire topic or individual pages in an index. Publishing implementations are also encouraged to let end users decide whether to render indexterm start/end pairs as page ranges, or as point references to the start indexterm. Another choice that publishing implementations may wish to provide is whether to collapse multiple continguous page references into a single page range."

Paul Prescod wrote:

-----Original Message-----
From: Grosso, Paul [
Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 7:01 AM
Subject: RE: [dita] Are indexterm ranges backwards incompatible?


Importance and ranges are orthogonal concepts.

I think that underlying this debate is a difference in styles by index
users. When I'm presented with many mentions of a particular topic,
there are three things that I look at:

1. is any bolded as being the "defining" instance of an index entry?
(hard to do in topic-oriented content!)

2. which comes first (also not necessarily informative in
topic-oriented content)

3. which is longest: likely to be a tutorial and not just a random

So I understand Dana's point, but I don't (personally) think it is
crucial enough for substantial spec rewriting at this point. It is
totally true that if you have a Concept called "Cheese" then you would
want that topic to look special in the index entry for cheese. It is
also true that barring any special markup, making that mention into the
longest range is ONE way to make it stand out. Maybe we should agree for
DITA 1.2 to document other (more explicit) ways to make it stand out.

To put it another way: if a publishing tool provides the options I've
proposed then I would tend to advocate that they be set Dana's way
rather than the way others propose.

That said, I think it is acceptable to leave control of the issue in the
hands of the end-user rather than requiring it to be hard coded in the
spec. I thought that we were heading towards a compromise on those

Paul Prescod

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