John:

I suggest you stay right away from using a list of keywords generated from 
one book to automatically add index markers to another book for a few 
reasons.

First, you will find when you apply the list of keywords to the second 
book that there will be many false hits which you will have to remove/edit 
tediously by hand.

Second, by convention, entries in indexes should conform to the universal 
convention of plural forms for nouns, and the gerund (or present 
continuous tense) for verbs, thus --- 

        cats
                caring for
                feeding of
        etc.

In the second and subsequent books, target words are likely to be in 
various forms so words which should be hits will be overlooked.

Third, good index entries are typically fragments containing several words 
(e.g. "configuring modems"), so attempting to apply fragments to a book 
will again miss many valid hits.

There is a long history of unsuccessful attempts to automate indexing 
(look up KWOC and KWIC for early examples) and IXgen is no exception. The 
only successful attempt is Google.  8^)   An index compiled by a human 
indexer will always be of superior quality.

May I suggest an alternative strategy?  User guides and other 
user-oriented publications typically differ from other kinds of books by 
fairly short blocks of text or instructions ("topics") and large numbers 
of headings, usually nested deeply.   And each heading is usually a good 
description of the contents of its topic.  Therefore, an index based on 
only these headings should produce a high-quality index as there should be 
little need to create index entries for phrases and concepts within the 
topics.

1       Consider creating a special book containing all the component 
files from the other books.
2       Then use IXgen's ability to attach markers to the heading 
paragraph formats, embedding the text of the heading within the marker.
3       Generate the list of markers.
4       Edit each entry in the list of markers using the standard syntax 
for marker text.
5       Update the markers in the book by writing them back, making sure 
to split markers containing multiple entries into separate markers.
6       Read the markers back into a new list of markers sorted 
alphabetically.
7       Edit the markers for consistency and to combine clones, etc. as 
you would normally.
8       Generate individual indexes for each of the three separate books.
9       Read through each book and add extra index entries for concepts, 
etc. within topics that really are important enough to be indexed.  The 
master index already generated will ensure that these final entries are 
consistent.

This should produce consistent indexes in all your books for far less 
effort than applying a list of keywords and editing the subsequent list of 
hundreds of (mostly) false hits.

Regards,
Hedley 

--
Hedley Finger
Training Content Developer and Tools Specialist
MYOB Australia Pty Ltd <http://myob.com/au>
P.O. box 371   Blackburn VIC 3130   Australia
12 Wesley Court   Tally Ho Business Park   East Burwood VIC 3151 Australia
<mailto:hedleyDOTfingerATmyobDOTcom>
Tel. +61 3 9222 9992 x 7421,   Mob. (cell) +61 412 461 558

? MYOB Technology Pty Ltd 2007

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