|★ APPLICATIONS ★ BUREAUTIQUE ★ ANSIBLELNDEX|8000Plus) ★|
Anybody who has tried and failed to read a bad manual knows how important a good index is - be it for a computer program or a town tourist guide. AnsiblelndeX is a program which will read a LocoScript document and automatically produce a complete, paginated index for it, so now there's no excuse for any more impenetrable tomes.
Preparing for action
The manual is quite short but very well written - it covers all the facts in a very light, readable style that assumes no computer knowledge. But it does seem strange that a manual about an automatic indexing program does not iself have an index, although it is short enough that this isn't a real problem.
The indexing process starts while you are typing your document into LocoScript. Once you've decided that a part of the text is pretty much finalised, you go through it marking all the words and phrases that you want to appear in the index. Then, when the whole document is complete and page numbering won't change any more, you run the index program to pick up all the marked items with their page numbers.
Marking words is done within LocoScript as you type, by using its standard Reverse Video control code. This code is either picked from the Emphasis menu. [f3], or more quickly by typing [ + ]RV. It has absolutely no effect on the printing of a document, but conveniently shows all the words to be index highlighted on the screen when you edit.
Ansiblelndex runs from CP/M and comes on a preprepared startup disc, so that when you've finished editing your document in LocoScript you just press [SHIFT] + [EXTRA] + [EXIT] and it automatically starts. Operation is very simple; you just put your LocoScript disc back in and enter the name of the document, regardless of what group it was in.
AnsiblelndeX then reads the document and produces a basic index file. Afterwards, you have the option to fine tune the index format, like specifying in which column the page numbers printed alongside your index entries are to start.
This leaves you with a new file in the first group of your LocoScript disc, containing the index. Although it is not a proper LocoScript document, converting it into that form is not too hard, and the manual explains fairly well how to do it. Once done, you can polish it up -delete unwanted entries, add special ones, and so on.
The finer points
AnsiblelndeX checks whether a word you index has been done before or not, and if so merges the entries. Multiple occurences on the same page are only recorded once. For example, if‘'Frinton-on-Sea" was marked several times on page 5, and again on pages 8, 9, 10 and 12. the index entry would be:
Frinton-on-Sea 5, 8-10, 12
Phrases can be “inverted", meaning that a phrase in the text like "Chicken with Mushroom Curry” can appear indexed as “Curry, Chicken with Mushroom", or even "Mushroom Curry, Chicken with".
If you are writing a long document with LocoScript you will probably be working with each chapter split into a separate file for speed. AnsiblelndeX can go through a series of files one after the other, and then produce a single index for the whole lot.
When submitting a manuscript for publication, knowing the LocoScript page numbers for the index is about as much use as a London bus pass in Monte Carlo. Instead, you can produce a dummy index with the actual page numbers left blank. When your proofs come back from the publisher, you can adjust your document and run AnsiblelndeX again to get the proper page numbers out.
On the negative side, the main drawback is that you can't index words that don't occur in the text. For example, if a number of pages talk generally about the Stone Age. but that actual phrase never appears as such (even in a heading), then you can't index it. You can however add it manually to the index after AnsiblelndeX has done its work.
Also, it would be nice when marking inverted phrases to be able to index them under both forms at once. eg. "different printers" and "printers, different", rather than either normal or inverted.