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Indexing Online Information

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Online indexing has great potential as a tool for information retrieval, although current online indexes are not always well used. Research and experience indicate that online indexing can be most effective if it is approached as a combination of traditional indexing and using computer search capabilities. Typical search facilities have great power but tend to rely on complex algorithms or else retrieve more information than users can effectively sort through. Traditional indexing techniques serve as a filter for concepts to limit searches to information that users will actually find valuable.

To take full advantage of search facilities, online indexes can be designed with a flat (nonhierarchical) structure in which each index entry is clearly worded and makes use of keywords from the subject matter. Indexers can include additional keywords as synonyms that point to the relevant index entries. When indexers take advantage of these concepts and when index users clearly understand what to expect from online indexes, the the indexes become an extremely powerful retrieval medium.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 1996

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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