Why Your Documents need Human indexing
Human interaction is necessaryMany people think that computer searches can locate any reference -- whether it's an idea, a concept, a name, etc. -- within any document (digital or text, website or image). At best, this assumption is erroneous. At worst, it's dangerous.
Computers search for keywords and phrases, limit searches with qualifiers such as "or," "and," "not," or "date of publication" (or a combination of these), and can even locate items by keywords in -- or out -- of context (kwic / kwoc). These types of searches help users find the information they seek -- as long as the documents have been properly catalogued or indexed -- by a human.
What computers cannot yet do is distinguish between heterographs, heteronyms, homographs, homonyms, homophones, and/or synonyms (click here for an illustrative example). They cannot locate concepts unless the exact search term is known and used. Computers cannot assign value (significance) to indexed terms -- one term is exactly as important as any other term (Churchill = Church Mouse). Above all, computers cannot index image content beyond a very limited scope. Only humans can do these things, and that's why indexes need human interaction.
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American Library Association
American Society for Indexing
Editorial Freelancers Association
Information Architecture Institute