*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
>(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
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]