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Automatic cross referencing of Topic (Concept, Task, Reference) help information based on the hierarchy of the table of contents and associated rules

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000019159D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Sep-02
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Sep-02
Document File: 2 page(s) / 42K

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The move to topic based help information requires that cross referencing of information is essential to allow the user to easily navigate through the topics. The end of each topic has sections for cross referencing to other associated concept, task and reference topics. Unfortunately, at the moment these will be generated based on how the author is feeling that day and the differences between what one author believes is necessary and what another author believes is necessary. Disclosed is an idea that allows the cross referencing of topics to be based on a set of rules that remove a majority of the subjectivity normally used.

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  Automatic cross referencing of Topic (Concept, Task, Reference) help information based on the hierarchy of the table of contents and associated rules

By automatically generating the cross referencing of links at the end of a topic using a set of rules, it is possible to provide a consistent method of providing linking between topics. This can be done based on the hierarchy of topics (generated through the table of contents (TOC)) and a simple set of rules. An example of such rules could be:
In direction

Vertically upwards to two previous generations

Vertically downwards to children, but not grandchildren

Horizontally to peers (i.e. those topics with the same parent)




In content

Vertically upwards for concepts and tasks only

Vertically downwards for concepts only

Horizontally for concepts only

    Cross referencing Reference topics is only likely to apply to the topic subject itself and can always be found via other concept or task cross references as required.

    This is subjective and the developer of these rules could apply them differently.

    When the help files are first used (in the same way as an index generated on a new Windows* help file is first seen when first searched) or the TOC is updated, the cross references are generated for each of the existing topics.

    The advantage of doing it this way is that a consistent approach is given to all the 'standard' cross references, making it easier for the user to navigate because it is more consistent, removes the vagaries of the approaches of different authors and reduces development time as these cross references do not need to be manually generated.

    For this to work the TOC should be correct and have a valid a...