View Full Version : Index: Making a linked index in epub


virtual_ink
10-07-2011, 02:07 AM
Does anyone here turn the p index into a linked e index?

I've seen it done well in Liz Castro's book and would like to implement it in my own conversions. Any discussion/insights/advice much appreciated.

wannabee
10-07-2011, 06:51 AM
Nope. I just let the readers use the ncx off line index. Why make more work for yourself?

pdurrant
10-07-2011, 06:57 AM
Does anyone here turn the p index into a linked e index?

I've seen it done well in Liz Castro's book and would like to implement it in my own conversions. Any discussion/insights/advice much appreciated.

If your pbook is in something like InDesign, and you've used the index feature, it might be that the links will be converted for you when you generate the ePub.

But if it's a completely manual index referencing page numbers, I don't think there's any way to do it except individually creating the links.

DaleDe
10-07-2011, 02:09 PM
If your pbook is in something like InDesign, and you've used the index feature, it might be that the links will be converted for you when you generate the ePub.

But if it's a completely manual index referencing page numbers, I don't think there's any way to do it except individually creating the links.

This will also work for Word, and some other word processors I think. Word has a TOC capability and a footnote capability that can be used to create both inline TOC and footnotes.

By the way, if you want an inline TOC you should use lists as this will conform, in the future to ePub 3. See ePub 3 in our wiki for an example.

virtual_ink
10-09-2011, 09:22 PM
Nope. I just let the readers use the ncx off line index. Why make more work for yourself?

What do you mean by the ncx off line index?

virtual_ink
10-09-2011, 09:23 PM
If your pbook is in something like InDesign, and you've used the index feature, it might be that the links will be converted for you when you generate the ePub.

But if it's a completely manual index referencing page numbers, I don't think there's any way to do it except individually creating the links.

In this case its the latter, the index was outsourced, created by an indexer.

virtual_ink
10-09-2011, 10:30 PM
Here's an interesting podcast on Indexes in epub:
http://ebookninjas.com/2010/11/11/episode-12-indexes

wannabee
10-10-2011, 02:38 AM
What do you mean by the ncx off line index?
If you look inside the ePub you will find a file called toc.ncx. That's the file automatically generated by indesign from the indesign table of contents that the epub reading software reads. It's usually in a separate side bar. It's automatic and if the client isn't asking for more, why bother?

virtual_ink
10-10-2011, 03:08 AM
I'm familiar with using the toc.ncx file to create a navigational Table of Contents, but I thought you meant I could also use it to create an Index.

"Why bother?"

There are plenty of reasons to include an Index, many of them discussed thoroughly in the above podcast. Personally, I'm trying to create quality ebooks and believe if the print book has an index, so should the ebook. I've used the Index in Liz Castro's book countless times, however the process she went through to create it shows how difficult it is: http://www.pigsgourdsandwikis.com/2010/07/creating-index-for-epub-with-indesign.html - and if you're working from a plain text Index, its even harder.

The people over at EbookArchitects are doing it (http://ebookarchitects.com/conversions/services.php#indexlinking) and they prefer working from Word or PDF, so I assume there must be a way to do this efficiently.

I find these Quality, Excellence, Design standards very reasonable (they actually sound simplistic for this day and age): http://www.publishinginnovationawards.com/the-qed so I think its a shame the technology makes it so difficult and time consuming to achieve these basic standards.

Anyhow, at this stage I may have to concede defeat as I can't afford the time to create the several hundred Index links manually.

wannabee
10-10-2011, 09:07 AM
Unless........
Your client wants it and has agreed to pay you by the hour. I'm an employee and it doesn't warrant me to increase remuneration in this arrangement.

However, if I were employed to create a unique tome for a nurturing client, and after informing them of the implications and expense of such a request I would certainly include the time researching their request on this thread and adding it to their account.

DaleDe
10-10-2011, 12:34 PM
I have become confused. Are we talking about a TOC or an Index? Those are very different things.

Dale

virtual_ink
10-10-2011, 07:34 PM
Index

DaleDe
10-11-2011, 05:35 PM
Index

An Index is particular tough in ePub as it is page oriented which does not lend itself to href entries. Href to a point in a web page scrolls to the exact location which is placed at the top of the page. ePub does not way the page rearranged in such a fashion so an Index can only point to the page in a similar way as to the page in a paper index except the page sizes on various devices are different so it becomes problematic.

ADE has virtual pages when are typically larger than screen pages and if used the index may link to a page that doesn't even have the text on the screen. If the href is capable of linking so that the screen containing the word is on the page then you user will still have to scan the page to find it. While this mimics the index operation of a paper book it seems unreasonable in this age of computers. The ideal solution would likely be to display the page and the show the word highlighted like it would be in a search. However, I know of no reader that works this way.

In addition the index would contain many many href's on the page, perhaps with a 2 or more column index you could have hundreds. The methods used by reader to select the index item isn't typically designed for hundreds of choices so would be overwhelmed.

I don't have the answers but these problems indicate that in ePub version 2 there is no good way to handle this. It is no better in ePub 3 I believe but perhaps there is time to address this need and get a better solution in the specs for epub 3. One solution would be to add an entry to the index that would identify the index entry and cause the reader to bring up the target page and enter a search on the page to highlight the word.

Dale

Jellby
10-12-2011, 05:10 AM
An Index is particular tough in ePub as it is page oriented which does not lend itself to href entries.

I don't see this, having a link to any arbitrary point of the text is possible and easy. The only tricky part is the wording, instead of "term, 27, 32" you'd have something like "term, here, here", or "term, 1, 2", but the links would work fine.

Href to a point in a web page scrolls to the exact location which is placed at the top of the page. ePub does not way the page rearranged in such a fashion

There's no reason why the ePub cannot be displayed with the linked-to word on top of the screen, regardless of which "ADE page" it falls in. The readers I have used don't do this exactly, they show the href target somewhere in the screen, not necessarily on top (as if they paginate the whole file first, and then show the appropriate "page"), but this is also how paper books work (except the Encyclopędia Britannica, where the index also points to the column and the top/middle/bottom section). Still, this has nothing to do of which "page number" is used by the reader, I'm only referring to the page the user sees, i.e., the screen.

ADE has virtual pages when are typically larger than screen pages and if used the index may link to a page that doesn't even have the text on the screen.

The thing is you cannot blindly translate a paper index to an ebook index. If the paper index says "term, 27, 30", you have first to locate the "term" in pages 27 and 30, add anchors in the appropriate places in the ebook text, and then make the index with links to these anchors, not to "page 27 and 30".

However, when searching is possible (and it should always be with ebooks), the utility of an index is greatly reduced.

virtual_ink
10-17-2011, 10:43 PM
However, when searching is possible (and it should always be with ebooks), the utility of an index is greatly reduced.

True to a point, although the ebookninjas podcast explains many reasons why a search function isn't a replacement for an index. If you don't want to listen to the whole podcast, these guys say it best in short-form here:

"Many non-fiction books include subject indexes or other types of indexes at the back of the book. Most eBook conversion houses and will ignore these indexes or just insert them into the eBook without making the page numbers into active links. The misconception many authors and publishers have is that since eBooks are searchable you do not need an actual navigable index. However, subject indexes are much more than just nicely formatted search results. They are informative lists of detailed data found in the book, with topics and subtopics, related areas of interest, and other helpful information. (For an extensive explanation of the value of indexes in eBooks, see our Subject Index services page and listen to our eBook Ninjas podcast on the topic.)"

(from http://ebookarchitects.com/conversions/services.php#indexlinking)

virtual_ink
10-17-2011, 10:43 PM
ps: wow, I finally got some Karma!

wannabee
10-18-2011, 02:23 AM
They should be called ebooknazis, not ebookninjas! :eek:

pholy
10-18-2011, 09:55 AM
Oh come now... they have strong opinions, but they're from Texas, of course they think they're right! :D

virtual_ink
10-18-2011, 01:15 PM
You're comparing an auto search function with human intelligence. If a publishing company paid money to have a professional indexer index the book, they obviously see value in that index (and yes, could pay extra for it in the ebook, but still - the manual labour in converting one is crazy).

Not all books with indexes would suffer greatly without them, but some surely would - particularly for use in reference/research. The index will point readers to the most useful, relevant topics - rather than an overkill of low relevance search terms.

Regardless, I didn't come here to defend the index, I don't really care enough (although I think we should push for high standards in ebooks, as a print book really is a simple thing, and its electronic counterpart is getting carried away with bells and whistles while dropping off some historically important features that made book design an art and reading a pleasure) - I came to ask if anyone could help the process of creating one - particularly after having found it continually useful in some of the reference ebooks I use.

No dice? Ok. Thanks anyways.

DaleDe
10-18-2011, 06:03 PM
Topic indexes are an important kind if index. They should have support in ePub. Somehow some of these important reading things seem to get lost in the ePub committee working on version 3 while they work hard on making it a video player.

virtual_ink
10-19-2011, 08:39 AM
From memory, when InDesign exports including local overides (a bad idea for clean code, but got me thinking) each paragraph is automatically given an ID.

Maybe a script could be written to auto tag page numbers, search for index terms within the page the term is refering to, tag a para where the term appears, and add a hyperlink cross reference.

Pipe dreamin.

wannabee
10-20-2011, 12:23 AM
From memory, when InDesign exports including local overides (a bad idea for clean code, but got me thinking) each paragraph is automatically given an ID. . . . . . . . .snip

There's no id's added to the xhtml mate. Not that I can find anyway. Perhaps you are thinking of the page IDs that ADE assign to the book.