Page 1 of 1

Better index

PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:34 pm
by mcpublic
All too often publishers give their authors the opportunity to save money by making their own index.
The alternative is to pay, per page, for someone to do it for you. Surprisingly, this often comes out better.
In the 1990's it used to be 50 US cents a page. It probably costs more now.
Given that The Knowledge could and should be a reference book, I think it would benefit from having a better index.
Just today, I looked up "ash" to find chemical processes that can use (e.g. wood) ash as a "raw ingredient."
Not in the index.

Has anyone started working on a better index?
With modern computers it wouldn't be too hard to at least make a search tool and put it on this web site.

Re: Better index

PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 11:37 am
by lewis
Hi, thanks very much for your comment. The index for The Knowledge was indeed produced professionally by the publishers. For instance, with 'ash' there are four page references given, but you're right, another way of organising the material would be to provide a list of all the substances and processes that take potash or soda as a raw ingredient. Searching the Kindle version of the book will find all instances of 'ash'.

Re: Better index

PostPosted: Sun Jun 14, 2015 11:57 am
by mcpublic
Thank you for your thoughtful reply. It sounds like the paperback edition already has a better index than the hardcover (the edition with the missing "ash" entry). The great thing about the web is that it offers the opportunity to enhance books that people already own. Posting your proposed list of substances and processes also has the potential to make a great marketing tool. It would help people find your book in web searches, give fence-sitters the excuse they need to go buy the book, and with page numbers to print editions, add value for folks who already own your book, perhaps providing that extra incentives to spread the word. For a well-curated compendium like yours, an extended outline can serve as the book equivalent of a movie trailer. I see your book as having a longer "shelf life" than the average book, in part because it is so primal (in a "comforts of modern living" sort of way). Retroactively making the book more useful as a reference is one of many ways to make it "the gift that keeps on giving."