Following is a FAQ written by an acquaintance of mine that will tell you more than you ever needed to know. This is even more in-depth than the FAQ I worte and posted here (check the FAQs section) and should lead you in the right direction.
PageMaker's documents are not word processor files ... in fact they're much more like a complex relational database file. The same structure is found in most page layout applications. If there's any corruption to the indexing or any record, the whole file can be corrupted. If you can still open those files, do a Save As to a new name in a new directory and don't play with the originals again. Each time you open the original you take the chance of it becoming permanently broken -- never to open again!
The only thing I can think of to fix a document that you cannot open before getting an error message is to try to minimize the PM window as much as possible (so only the menu bar shows) before opening. This is in case the problem is a damaged graphic on the page it is trying to open to. If you can open it in a small window use CTL-G to go to another page and then try to expand the windows size and then follow the instructions from this document: http://pagemakersupport.adobe.com/adobeknowbase/root/public/pm3632.htm
When an Adobe PageMaker publication is damaged, it generates an error or exhibits unexpected or unpredictable behaviour.
Damaged publications errors include:
"Cannot process publication's links. Internal error: Bad Record Index." with the error number 8401:20515, 8401:20514, or 7901:20515.
"Cannot Open File."
"Cannot start up this publication.
Internal error: Bad Table Index. 7026:20514"
"Lock not expected but found."
"Cannot lock block."
"Fatal Error. 7509:20551"
To attempt to recover a damaged publication, do one or more of the following:
A. Run the PageMaker "slideshow" by pressing Shift + "Go to page" from the Layout menu (PageMaker 5.0x) or from the Page menu (PageMaker 4.x). Each page of the publication, not including the master pages or pasteboard, display briefly, starting with the first page. Once the slideshow has cycled through all the pages of your publication, press any key to stop it.
B. Choose "Links..." from the File menu, and unlink any links that display with a question mark or the letters "UN" for "unknown," then "Save as..." to the same name or another name. A question mark in front of a linked file name indicates that PageMaker can't locate the linked external file.
C. Use the "Save as..." command to save the publication to a new name.
D. Replace any damaged text or graphic elements: 1. Select an element, then choose "Link info..." from the Element menu. 2. If an error appears when you click on "Link info..." the element is damaged. Delete the element, do a "Save as," then replace the element in the publication. 3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until all damaged elements have been replaced, including elements on the master pages.
E. Using the pointer tool, copy and paste pages using "Select all" from the Edit menu into a new publication.
F. Export the text and place it into a new publication by using PageMaker's Story import filter to place the publication's text into a new file.
G. Close PageMaker, rename the PageMaker defaults file, reopen PageMaker and attempt to recreate the error. The PageMaker defaults file is PMx.CNF in the \USENGLSH subdirectory (Windows) or "PM5.0 Defaults" in the Preferences folder in the System Folder (System 7.x) or in the System Folder (System 6.x) [Macintosh].
H. Use an earlier backup copy of the publication.
Open the entire PageMaker publication in a text editor and delete all code characters, leaving the text of the publication that you can place into a new PageMaker publication.
J. Page 498 has an explanation of how to do a "diagnostic recompose" which can fix up BADRIX errors which often come from corrupted styles.
Here are some other tips for file safety:
The most common causes of damaged publications are low disk space, low system resources, or an unstable operating environment. Bad record index errors in PageMaker indicate there is internal damage to the publication. Publication damage may be associated with particular elements, styles, index items, or links.
If in doubt about the "corruption level" of a document, I'd unhesitatingly recommend, as part of the various diagnostic/remedial procedures, running the Global Link Manager to see if you get the Bad Record Index flag. You may not be able to cure it, but at least you know you have an incipient problem. Figuring that it *might* have something to do with one or more of some long-embedded small graphics, I ran the GLM to "dis-embed" all graphics on all pages. After about 10 seconds of churning, GLM suddenly popped up an error message to the effect of "Can't complete operation: Bad Record Index Encountered."
If you've been working on a document for a week I'd expect you to have anywhere from seven to twenty versions saved under different names. That way when you have a problem you can go back to a working version and lose only a few hours of labour. Some other suggestions include: have lots of RAM and free disk space available, keep your hard drive de-fragged, use Save As *not* Save, set preferences to Save smaller, break large documents into logical sections and use PM's Book function. Don't ever Save to a floppy (only copy saved files). But most of all, keep serial versions!
When in doubt, deny all terms and defnitions. http://www.wuli.com