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December 7, 2009: A Union Index?

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  • Louis Rosenfeld
    *December 7, 2009: A Union Index?* I ve been kicking around an odd idea ever since starting Rosenfeld Media —the idea of a union
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 7, 2009
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      *December 7, 2009: A Union Index?*

      I've been kicking around an odd idea ever since starting Rosenfeld
      idea of a union index, a compilation of all of our books' indices. Now that
      we've actually got a few books out (#6 is due in about six weeks), it's time
      to revisit the idea and consider the indices' collective potential.

      Want to help me figure it out?

      First, imagine a single, combined index�possibly a single page�that'd
      reference whichever books where an index entry occurred. Then picture the
      ability to filter that index by individual title. Now we're ready for some

      *Does it make sense to put an individual book index on the web?* Each
      Rosenfeld Media book has its own web
      and we already make each book's tables of contents, FAQs, and other
      materials available. Would there be additional utility in viewing a book's
      index? Coming from a background in librarianship, I know that there are a
      few index fetishists among us who might judge a book by its index (a
      character in *Kurt Vonnegut's* Cat's Cradle goes further, judging the
      indexer's personality). I imagine one might indeed get a sense of a book's
      scope, but unless there is a link to a webified (and, likely, free) version
      of the book, there'd be no navigational value. (Given that we're a
      for-profit, we'd likely link to a way to quickly purchase the relevant

      *Does it make sense to put a collective index of many books on the web?* If
      the term "remote testing" or "Axure" occurred in multiple books, that might
      be an interesting factoid. Even more interesting�a report of the most
      frequently-occurring terms (hmmm, this is starting to sound suspiciously
      like site search
      Of course, a union index would say something about the collective scope of
      Rosenfeld Media books, but I'm not sure who�aside from me�would find that
      useful. So the jury's still out.

      *Does it make sense to create individual pages for each index term?* On the
      surface, this may seem like the least useful idea yet. But what if each page
      could provide these things for an index term:

      - Link to a glossary definition (if available).
      - Retrieve the term's results from Google (duh).
      - Retrieve the term's results from UX Zeitgeist
      <http://uxzeitgeist.com/>(yes, we're still working on it, and it's
      going to improve radically).

      That's still likely not much value to users. But to Rosenfeld Media? Could
      be quite promising:

      - If we SEO these pages reasonably well, the more specific terms might
      bring in a decent amount of essentially free traffic. (After all, who else
      is going to do this?)
      - We can promote our own books on those pages.
      - We can insert some Google advertisements on those pages, which, while
      not bringing in retirement money, might fund some future Rosenfeld Media
      holiday party.

      This is my first pass at fleshing the idea out, and frankly, my own reaction
      is lukewarm. Then again, these pages wouldn't be hard to create, nor would
      they get in the way of other, more critical aspects of the
      rosenfeldmedia.com user experience. So I'm tempted to go for it.

      Still, it seems like I'm missing something. Any suggestions? Good ideas are
      always worth a free book, according to this publisher.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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