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Digital Publications Indexing SIG, a Special Interest Group of the American Society for Indexing

About Web Indexing

Web indexing means creating indexes for individual Web sites, intranets, collections of HTML documents, or even collections of Web sites.

Indexes are systematically arranged items, such as topics or names, that serve as entry points to go directly to desired information within a larger document or set of documents. Indexes are traditionally alphabetically arranged. But they may also make use of hierarchical arrangements, as provided by thesauri, or they may be entirely hierarchical, as in the case of taxonomies. An index might not even be displayed, if it incorporated into a searchable database.

Indexing is an analytic process of determining which concepts are worth indexing, what entry labels to use, and how to arrange the entries. As such, Web indexing is best done by individuals skilled in the craft of indexing, either through formal training or through self-taught reading and study.

A Web index is often a browsable list of entries from which the user makes selections, but it may be non-displayed and searched by the user typing into a search box. A site A-Z index is a kind of Web index that resembles an alphabetical back-of-the-book style index, where the index entries are hyperlinked directly to the appropriate Web page or page section, rather than using page numbers.

Electronic indexing includes embedded indexing of Word, Framemaker, PDF and InDesign electronic documents of publications, online help and Content Management System tagging. When the pages are edited or changed, the index is regenerated with new page numbers or anchors or URLs with a hyperlink from the index to the relevant page or paragraph.

Web Site Indexes - Frequently Asked Questions

Web Indexing SIG brochure (U.S.) (pdf)
Web Indexing SIG brochure (Canada) (pdf)
Web Indexing SIG brochure (United Kingdom) (pdf)
Web Indexing SIG brochure (Australia/New Zealand) (pdf)

Why Create an Index?,” by David M. Brown
Improving Usability with a Website Index,” by Fred Leise

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