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

Web Indexing Awards - 2014 Feedback

To encourage high quality web site indexes and to promote the web indexing work of professional indexers, the Web & Electronic Indexing Special Interest Group of the American Society for Indexing awards a deserving indexer the annual Web & Electronic Indexing SIG Award for excellence in web site indexing.

First Place - Indexing team of Cheryl Caballero, Erica Smith and Rosalind Guldner, Canada

Legislative Assembly of Ontario - Hansard (index to debates of the Ontario Legislature)

Judge's Comments:

Usability/ease of use in navigating within the index and finding information

  • A-Z for speakers and subjects at home page
  • A-Z for relevant index at top of each page
  • Entry's locator navigated to top of page (day) then user had to use ^F and keywords to find speaker or subject rather than jumping to first instance using anchor with left and right arrows to jump between instances. Tool would have done this.
  • All topics or speakers in index were found in Hansard using locator URL and ^F search.
  • User had to go back to copy keyword if they forgot before clicking on link so they could do a ^F search on page or PDF, which was clumsy.

Sufficient coverage of web site content, i.e. indexing depth and completeness

  • Quite a lengthy and thorough index of political issues even for an Australian unfamiliar with Canadian politics.
  • Every speaker on a day was listed by subject then name or by name then subject.
  • Subjects were 2 or 3 per speech of speaker which may run for several paragraphs so not too dense but enough to get reader to right area to browse.

Wording of entries and subentries

  • Quality wording of entries.
  • Reasonable subheads.
  • In subject index, subject was followed by subheads and speaker.
  • In speaker index, subject was followed by subheads.

Correct use of cross-references

  • Good use of cross references e.g. Aboriginals
  • Cross references had cross references. Grouping of cross-references may have helped simplify index using thesaurus.
  • Cross reference entries jumped to anchor on index page so no searching required.

Sufficient and appropriate use of double posting

  • Double-posting was done under subject and speaker indexes.
  • E.g. subject then speaker or speaker then subject.

No broken or incorrect links

  • There were no broken links in index entries but the page number was inaccurate or non-existent so ^F had to be used to fish around in HTML or PDF by subject or speaker.
  • Back link broke once instead of returning to home page.

Special features used, e.g., the use of a special method to indicate a page that is particularly important

  • Subjects were in bold.
  • Act entries were in italics.

Attractive design

  • Basic layout of site was elegant and functional.
  • Index was basic HTML.
  • Search allowed not just current parliament's Hansard but other relevant documents to be found to explain terms in index e.g. Ring of Fire.
  • Each page had a mini subject index at top which was not alphabetical so index was needed.
  • An introduction re how the index was organised round subjects and speakers would have helped (index introduction was later pointed out by indexer). Explaining to use ^F and keywords to find relevant part of HTML or PDF page would have helped. User had to copy the keyword before opening page so they could find it on the page which was a little bit clumsy. However whole page was available so whole context was available not just a snippet.
  • Each page (day) was in HTML with a link to PDF so index was for both HTML and PDF.
  • Index was in English only.
  • Apostrophes were curly instead of straight so ^F would not work on words like O'Tool.
  • There were no page numbers on HTML version making all index entries jump to top of page.
  • PDF version had page numbers referred to in index but were not accurate so ^F search had to be used still.

^F is the browser or PDF search, not site search or Google search.

Judge: Dwight Walker, Web and Electronic Indexing SIG Webmaster, American Society for Indexing, January 28, 2014