Web Indexing Tools
by Kevin Broccoli

Kevin Broccoli creates indexes for online and print publications.

He is owner and principal at Broccoli Information Management.

Many corporations and new media publishers appreciate the benefits a good index brings to their Web sites and intranets. With an intelligently constructed index, users experience quick and accurate results to their search for information.

Web indexing tools (such as HTML/Prep or HTML Indexer) help technical writers and professional indexers produce indexes with more efficiency, less tedium, and fewer errors than HTML or text editors.

Selecting a Web Indexing Tool

When choosing a Web indexing tool, determine the features you need to complete your job quickly and easily. For example, ask yourself—

How often will I need to update the index?
If your site content changes regularly, requiring a new index with each update, then consider investing in a product that can generate your index from the site files. A more-expensive tool may save you enough effort later to justify the price now.
Do I need a separate indexing program?
If you are already comfortable with an indexing program, a Web indexing utility may be all you need. If you don't have an indexing program, an all-in-one Web indexing program may be right for you.
Does the Web indexer generate URLs (hyperlinks) or must I enter them myself?
Programs that generate URLs for linking can reduce data entry errors.
Does the Web indexer generate the style of index I want?
Will the indexer generate the alphabet and headings for me? Will it create only one HTML file or can I divide the index into multiple files? Will it created an index using frames? Will it create both hanging or run-in style lists?

Comparing HTML/Prep and HTML Indexer

In this section, I've compared two very different Web indexing tools. HTML/Prep is a utility that takes an index previously created in an indexing program or word processor and creates a formatted HTML index file. HTML Indexer is a stand-alone program that creates an HTML index from the files on your site.

Both of these tools will generate HTML files for you. Either of them will make your Web site indexing job easier.

HTML/Prep HTML Indexer
Requires separate
indexing program:
Yes No
Generates index
from site files:
No Yes
Generates URLs: No Yes
Generates alphabet: Yes Yes
Frames capable: Yes Yes
Hanging-list: Yes Yes
Run-in list: No Yes
Supports multiple
No Yes
Application type: DOS utility Windows application
Manufacturer: Leverage Technologies Brown Inc.
Price: $125 $239.95 download
$259.95 + S&H for CD
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