After searching the net for reviews mentioning PDF Index Generator, or 'pdf generator problems' there were many references - and all but one of the articles was written by the software company itself- with no problems of course! Information about the Index-Like-Object written by professional indexers are currently hard to find. Thus, there is little competition and no countervailing arguments to accompany claims like these:
“in (4) easy steps. PDF Index Generator parses your PDF, collects the index words and their location in the PDF, then writes the generated index to a PDF or a text file you specify. The main target for PDF Index Generator is to automate the process of generating the book index instead of doing the hard work manually”
During the time I was looking at the program and thinking about writing this, I had a chance email conversation with Dwight Walker of the Web & Electronic Indexing Sig, and I asked him if he wouldn't mind taking a quick look at it too:
I downloaded the PDF Index Generator and ran it today. It is very basic. It extracts all keywords into an alphabetical list but does not edit it so the indexer would have to edit it and clean it up before pasting it back into the document or letting the app append it to the PDF. An indexer could use it as a basis then re-edit the generated index and tweak the tool.
As you say, the index was pretty awful that PDF Index Generator created, unless the stop words were adjusted. No multi-level indexing was done just flat keyword alphabetical list, which was very poor quality.
The only good thing was the layout.
I found one review of it in PDF Index Generator 28.47-48, The Indexer by accident today. I don't have a copy of that issue of The Indexer.
- Dwight Walker
The only article which I had found, that was not written by Index Generator begins:
Creating the initial index was a completely grueling process. It was pure grunt work, and unfortunately, there is no way around it.
PDF Index Generator will create an index list for you, but it will index every word, minus the built in ‘excluded’ words. I thought the application would be able to automate the creation of the index terms, but I quickly found out that the software can’t determine groupings of words and phrases: e.g., ‘information security management’. The Index creator can index each word individually, but it would have no way of knowing that Index Security Management is a term that you want to specifically search for, unless you manually specify it in the ‘include list’.
However, the author concludes by giving the program a rating of 7/10, which I do not believe any indexer would agree to.
[For the full article, here is the link http://www.curvve.com/blog/guides/2011/create-a-printable-document-index-with-pdf-index-generator/#.U6CoEI1dVgS]
Looking at the first sample index provided on the software website (see sample indexes http://www.pdfindexgenerator.com/download_samples.php) - take even a cursory glance at the A’s - and notice how names are indexed inconsistently, i.e. Agee, Michael; Akerlof, George and then for some reason Alan Morrison. (not Morrison, Alan). This happens to names throughout the first sample index.
In the second sample index provided notice, again right off the bat, the sort of headings and locator strings created:
personal, 2, 8, 12, 38, 55, 64, 72, 78, 85, 89, 93-96, 107, 173, 181-182, 184-185
adjourning stage of team building, 103-104
defined, 26, 75, 97, 109, 131, 134, 148, 151, 153, 182
identifying, 21, 23, 33-35, 55, 59, 86, 89, 119, 134, 150, 161
project plan template, 162
Peruse the program yourself, and you will find many ways that PDF Index Generator creates “an index-like-object” but not a usable index. But the point I'm trying to make is, the internet tourist will have to dig deep to find reasons not to buy PDF Index Generator. To the unsuspecting debt-ridden first-time author it might look like a pretty good object! Even though the flaws might be obvious to indexers, to the general public the faults are NOT obvious. If a person doesn't know how a proper index ought to function, the Index-Like-Object can look just like a usable index.
That’s why I think it is important to have a couple of things to say to the wary author who thinks that for $59.95, they are getting a deal (while pdf generator steals your fee). It’s all the same to them, because, when they search the net looking for answers, there’s no evidence to the contrary.
Scroll down below, for the Seth Maislin article which Dwight located (as pdf ) and another by Jon Jeremy at this link http://www.anzsi.org/UserFiles/file/Feb%2010.pdf (page 8 ANZSI Newsletter)