Master topic index for my guides

Wednesday 19 August 2009 @ 11:11 pm

Last month I put out volume 4 of my Expert Techniques for Crystal Reports, adding another 30 articles to my growing collection of tips and tricks.  But writing up the summary for these articles is always a challenge, because many techniques can be used to solve several different problems.  My chosen description for an article may not sound applicable when a user is searching for a specific solution.  Google makes searching easy, but only if your search terms match my description.

So say you need to know how to make a dotted line that automatically fits  between two columns on a page – like you might see in a table of contents between the chapter and the page number.  You might search for dotted lines, or maybe “table of contents”, or maybe TOC, etc.  Up to now I couldn’t think of an easy way to list ALL of the options for an article’s subject.  Then one of my students asked me if I had an index for my course materials – and the light bulb went on.  So I have started a master index for all of my guides.  The beauty of the index is that I can list the same article under any number of headings or descriptions, making it more likely that a user will find what they search for.

So far the index includes all 4 volumes of my Expert Techniques, as well as my Expert’s Guide to Formulas.  Over the next few months I will add more guides until the index is comprehensive.   There is an HTML page with all entries (so the search engines can index it) as well as a PDF version that you can download to use off-line.

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