What are the best indexes/TOCs/maps you've seen?

Textual media (books, websites, newspapers), anything goes here! Probably even some twitter threads could fit under this prompt. I suspect there have been a lot of interesting mechanisms here, even disregarding the fancier hypertext stuff.

Some examples:

1 Like

Love this! I haven’t read A Timeless Way of Building but I do have A Pattern Language and I think it’s very similar, very nicely structured book :slight_smile:

The first one that came to mind for me is Metamagical Themas by Douglas Hofstadter, which has this great sequence of increasingly more detailed TOC / outline — “SynopsiS”, “Short Contents”, and “Long Contents”, which are 1, 2, and 4 pages long respectively, I just included the first page of each here (and yes all section titles are a pair of words both starting with “S” b/c Hofstadter is all about aesthetics and playful constraints, love it…)

A phrase I thought of for describing this is “textual progressive enhancement” — increasing levels of detail for mapping out the structure of a text.

Another I found with a cool format is Antifragile, which has this thing called “Chapter Summaries and Map”, basically just a detailed TOC but also highlights core terminology used in the book, by which chapters they appear in, for easy cross-reference w/ the glossary, which is cool

Also, a few websites I think you’ll dig, found from browsing through my Pinboard bookmarks, with various cool index / table of contents mechanisms! —

1 Like

I don’t have anything to really contribute here but just wanted to say I’m SO INTO ALL OF THIS.