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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ebooks and Indexes

My question of the day, does an ebook need an index?

Mrs. T.W. Gregory (LOC)
Some people argue that an ebook has a search feature so an index is unnecessary. However, a good index is more than a list of words. A good index includes alternative terms for the same thing, groups discussions under a single term, and references related terms.

From a user experience though scrolling through pages of terms seems cumbersome when offered a simple search function. An index created in Adobe InDesign for your print book does not convert into a hyperlinked file.You can insert anchors and create cross references and there are other other methods that create an index separately and then import it and so forth, but all of these methods seem overly cumbersome.

When you create online help you can embed key words that are used with the search function. It is a great way to embed alternate terms to improve the user experience. It seems logical to me that the same functionality could be embedded into ebooks, but alas, so far this functionality does not exist. 

Again from the user perspective, as a researcher I quite often flip to the index and look for items of interest before I buy a print book or take it out of the library. With an ebook I will not have that opportunity to assess the book before I commit to its purchase.

If you have created an ebook did you create an index?

As a reader of ebooks do you want an index for your non-fiction books?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Chocolate Wars

Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate MakersChocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers by Deborah Cadbury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In light of the recent Occupy movement this book's chronicle of the origins of Cadbury and their Quaker motivations to the present day world of globalization was facinating.

Has globalization taken us back to the days of Dickens? Corporations talk about corporate responsibility but the reality is that they see themselves as beholden to the shareholders. Shareholders want a return on their investment and they want it now. There is a disconnent between short term wealth generation and long term growth that is good for shareholders, employees, and consumers.

The Quaker ideals that wealth creation was not for personal gain but for the benefit of society may seem quaint today until you look at some statistics. "In the United States, the ratio of chief executive pay to factory worker pay has risen from 42:1 in 1960 to 344:1 in 2007." (p 308)

Read the book and learn the origins of Dairy Milk, Smarties, and the chocolate industry.

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