Hi-res screenshots and creating a book index – any ideas?

It’s been nearly a month since I blogged about the Delphi book I’ve been writing, and in between times, CreateSpace (Amazon’s ‘print on demand’ subsidiary) have become a lot more attractive for a UK-based would-be author like myself. So more attractive, in fact, that I now have two problems: creating high resolution screenshots on both Windows and OS X, and creating an index. Would anyone have any suggestions?

WRT the first issue, does a ‘print-ready’ screenshot just mean a normal screenshot increased in size x times over and the resolution set accordingly? E.g., if (on Windows) the pixels per inch setting is 120, is it just a matter of tripling the size of each screenshot without interpolation before setting its DPI to 360×360? That would seem… cheating however!

As for indexing, MS Word has a ‘concordance file’ concept for indexing a long document in a semi-automated fashion. Does anyone have experience of it? For example, does using it actually produce an OK result?

More generally, I’m a bit clueless as to what a ‘good’ index is in the first place. E.g., a good index might be said to be a ‘detailed’ index, but detail in itself can be a bad thing (imagine indexing the word ‘the’!). So… what sort of things should be included in an index?

Any ideas will be much appreciated!

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14 thoughts on “Hi-res screenshots and creating a book index – any ideas?

  1. I wouldn’t use an automated method for generating an index. I think most people will say the same thing. The reason is that automated system cannot index higher level concepts only terms. Plus what you do do about indexing symbols The way I did it was work my way through the entire book page by page and highlighting what ever I thought should be in the index, conceptual or term. I use LaTeX so all I had to do was put an \index{etc} next to each term or concept I thought a reader would need to look up. The Chicago Manual of Style has a section on how to create an index. Ultimately you’ll find that most publishers will recommend a professional indexer (i.e a human). Interesting article at: http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/how-to-index-your-book-and-why-ill-never-do-it-again

    • Thanks. The issue is less whether complete automation is possible than whether semi-automation is, and if not, how to cut the work down even so. E.g., via email, I’ve had the suggestion that the index should include ‘everything in the table of contents, plus at least each programming command word or language element, and words like polymorphism’. Following this advice (which I more than likely will do) would immediately limit the scope of the job at hand.

      • Hie Chris Rolliston,
        i want to change the data type for ExifData.ExifImageWidth (change “short” to “long”). What do i do please
        Thank you

        • Why do you want to? If a number that requires 32 bits is required, then a 32 bit integer will be written (unless there’s a bug that needs fixing).

          • Hie, my Imagewidth = 45132 in my example image and the datatype display always tag_short.
            My code is:
            procedure RewriteTag(const FileName: string);
            var
            ExifData: TExifData;n;
            Tag: TExifTag;
            begin
            ExifData := TExifData.Create;
            try
            ExifData.LoadFromGraphic(FileName);
            ExifData.ExifImageWidth := 45132;
            ExifData.SaveToGraphic(FileName);
            finally
            ExifData.Free;
            end;
            end;
            Is it correct?
            Thank’s

          • The ExifImageWidth and ExifImageHeight tags are automatically updated when you stream out to a JPEG (the actual image size is read off from the JPEG image data).

            That said, I don’t know what you are referring to when you speak of ‘tag_short’ – my code does not use such an identifier, for example.

  2. You shouldn’t need to scale the images up, however you might have an issue if they use a resampling algorithm to scale your screen shots for printing which can make them look blurry. I had this issue when trying to print QRCodes in word.

    • Well, CreateSpace’s uploader whinges about the low resolution, so in order not to risk rejection, I’m doing it anyway – resizing (not resampling) to 400% the original size, and setting the DPI accordingly (96 x 4 = 384). This bloats the file size but shouldn’t in principle change the output.

  3. I agree with “penrodyn”. I have tried to use M.Office to create my book Index but it made things more complicated. I looked for other tools to just organize my index so i can only concentrate in the Index terms which i wanted to specify myself. I tried “PDF Index Generator” (http://www.pdfindexgenerator.com) as i create PDF books.

    It actually did a neat job, especially it worked fine on my Mac. I have created 3 book Indexes now using it.

    • I agree with “penrodyn”.

      Thanks for the comment. Unless I’m misreading the ‘PDF Index Generator’ website (which is perfectly possible!), I don’t quite follow you when you say you agree with the first commenter though – he began by saying ‘I wouldn’t use an automated method for generating an index’, but you are actually recommending a program that does exactly that…?

      • No, i do not use this tool to generate the index. I’m convinced that generating the index is impossible, so i specify the terms of my Index myself, but i let this program to organize my work. i.e. Sorting the Index alphabetically, defining the entries and sub-entries, using one of the program templates to write the index to my book. Saving the Index as a project allows me to return any time and change anything in the index and simply re-writing it to my book. All this is just regulative work that i do not want to worry about, so i can just concentrate in my Index terms.

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