Archive for April, 2012

Missing the e-Book Index

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

A well-designed index can help facilitate smarter e-books, making it easier for readers to find and retrieve information more efficiently.  Unfortunately, at least for the immediate future, indexes won’t likely be appearing in most e-books on the the main e-reading systems, such as Kindle and Nook.  The companies behind these reading platforms haven’t programmed their reading software in a way that would make indexes easy – or at least easier – to implement.  Amazon comes closest, with the page numbers you now see on some Kindle books appearing courtesy of so-called “page list” data that many publishers provide – essentially lists correlating e-book location with pages in a print book.  That data could, in theory, be used to automate the implementation of indexes and to make them more accurate.  The indexer needs to move beyond taking a digital snapshot of a print index and turning each entry into a hyperlink.  Instead, search tools and indexes need to work in partnership, passing queries from one to the other as different readers arrive with different questions.

In following blog postings, I will explore specific problems with e-book indexes.  For more information about the services provided by the author of this blog, see the Stellar Searches LLC website,