docs: topic && availability

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Subject: docs: topic && availability
From: Kurt Hornik (Kurt.Hornik@ci.tuwien.ac.at)
Date: Thu 15 Jul 1999 - 00:56:23 EST


Message-ID: <14220.42263.633620.65936@fangorn.ci.tuwien.ac.at>

I think that users quite often want to answers to questions like ``Is
there something to do FOO in R?'', where FOO might e.g. be ``isotonic
regression''. The answer should be something like ``you can use BAR in
package BAZ, or ...''.

For this, full text search is not the right approach and the keywords
are not enough. We could maybe search dedicated fields (like \title),
but I think what we really want is something like an \index{} entry.
(I am not sure whether we want concept/variable/function/... indices a
la Texinfo.)

Access/retrieval could even happen on the command line via something
like
        help(topic = "FOO")

However, I am not sure what the right back-end is. We definitely do not
want to confine the search to the loaded packages. But even the locally
available ones are not enough. On the other hand, I don't think doing
all topic lookups via CRAN is the right thing, either. So maybe

        help(topic = "FOO")

would use all topic indices in R_LIBS but there could be a message
indicating that one can also use CRAN for lookup via WWW.

Opinions?

-k
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