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Book review

Website Indexing

Glenda Browne and Jonathan Jermey, Adelaide: Auslib Press, 2001, ISBN 1875145486, 103 pages.

This book has joined a short list of recent publications that have greatly influenced my work. I've known for some time that I needed to change the retrieval aids I provide for my websites, but I had not been sure how to improve them. This book has not only shown me what to do, it's got me started understanding how to do it. I recommend it highly.

Part A, Information Access on the Web, summarizes access tools (keyword searching using search engines, classification and categorization, metadata and thesauruses, site maps, and back- of-book style indexes), and the strengths and weaknesses of each; levels of information access (whole web, part of the web, an individual web site, a single web page or document) and which tools are most appropriate for each level; and the need to provide more than one type of access to a site.

Part B, Planning Website Indexes, covers basic indexing principles, indexing policies (decisions to make about the purpose, scope, size, and other aspects of the project), planning a back-of-book-style index (including some details that the inexperienced might forget to consider and practical information about coding links and using anchors in HTML files.

Part C, Indexing Software, looks briefly at several tools, then concentrates on HTML-Indexer, the tool I used to prepare the indexes for my websites.

Two indexing exercises are included, as this book grew out of a one-day course presented by the authors. These exercises use files downloaded from the authors' website and a demo copy of HTML-Indexer, available from

The book has many references to examples that readers can look up on the web, extensive endnotes, and an index. At 103 pages, it's short enough to not be daunting, yet it's packed with good information.

I think the book could use some editing, but its flaws are minor and don't detract from the information provided.

The authors' email address is and their website is

You can order the book using an Australian cheque or a credit card, from Auslib Press, PO Box 622, Blackwood, SA 5051, Australia, Fax +61-8-8278-4000 or email