The International Journal of Indexing
September 13, 2017 9:34 AM   Subscribe

The Indexer is published by the Society of Indexers in the UK. It includes articles on the history of indexing, discussion of how to index names from around the world, ongoing reviews of indexes published elsewhere, and, of course, an index. All issues/articles older than 3 years old are available for free.
posted by carter (8 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
Indexers are the greatest people in book publishing. They read the book after it's edited and proofread, they usually have under a week to submit their index before the book goes to press, and they always, always, get it back on time with a list of typos that slipped through editing and proofing. They're the last line of defense against publishers/editors/writers embarrassing themselves. They're total unsung heroes.
posted by melgy at 9:51 AM on September 13 [11 favorites]


I was just noticeing that the index for Will and Ariel Durant's Story of Civilization has dates in entries for people:
Hotbot, Shot (1843-1904) p 21-32, 55
I thought it was nice. Wonder what the pros think.
posted by shothotbot at 11:48 AM on September 13


The index for Hugh Kenner's A Colder Eye: The Modern Irish Writers has entries like this:
Barrie, Sir J. M., playwright, 117
Barthes, Roland, post-structuralist, 228
Beckett, Samuel, immobilist, xi, 13, 14, 57, 53, 57, 114, 115, 177, 182, 188, 191, 235, 244, 248, 262-73
Beerbohm, Max, depictor, 55, 69
...
Blake, William, visionary, 123, 145, 162, 163, 214
Bloom, Leopold, peregrinator, 6, 46, 95, 102, 112, 175, 193-98, 210, 211, 228, 272
Bloom, Molly, soliloquist, 5-6, 101, 102, 195
...
MacNeill, Eoin, fussbudget, 77
Macpherson, James, counterfeiter, 66, 86, 104, 220
Mahaffy, James P., didact, 65
Mahony, Francis, campanologist, 139
Mallarmé, Stéphane, mage, 144-45, 147
Mangan, James Clarence, dipsomaniac, 99-100, 162
Marlowe, Christopher, onomatechnician, 51, 95
I took a class on indexing in library school. It's a fascinating profession, but it sounds like you really need to hustle to make a living at it.

(Previously.)
posted by Gerald Bostock at 12:45 PM on September 13 [5 favorites]


I wish lurkers like me could save up favorites-as-approval and fave this kind of FPP ten times all at once.
posted by sidereal at 1:45 PM on September 13


What I know of indexing is by way of technical writing courses a quarter of a century ago and reports then lauded its discipline (and relative higher pay) and warned of its demise as fewer publishers afforded them-- a classic Good Work If You Can Get It. I mean, back in the day, juvenile literature might be complemented by an index. But what most interested me back then were statements that computers can't do the job of an indexer very well and I've watched for articles about how that has changed ever since.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 5:36 PM on September 13


Oooh! My husband used to make indecis for the legislative committees of BC. I was always a bit jealous.
I compensate for having my own file naming protocol at my work, which isn't really the same.
(I admit the real reason for this comment is to insert "indecis" as my preferred, though admittedly no more correct plural)
posted by chapps at 11:55 PM on September 13


> I took a class on indexing in library school. It's a fascinating profession, but it sounds like you really need to hustle to make a living at it.

I'm a certified indexer but was never able to make a career stick. I loved the work, the little I could get.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:24 AM on September 14



What I know of indexing is by way of technical writing courses a quarter of a century ago and reports then lauded its discipline (and relative higher pay) and warned of its demise as fewer publishers afforded them.


One weird thing about indexing, at least in non-academic publishing, is that the cost of getting an index is the author's responsibility. I've never been able to find an answer as to why that is (I suppose it's just "part of the book"). But the reason for the demise is not that "publishers can't afford them," at least not directly. It's that authors can't afford them, except at the higher end of publishing (Big Six publishing houses) where the author gets a big advance.

An index for an 80,000 word book would set an author back around 800 bucks. An advance for a smaller press book is maybe twice that, broken up over three installments. So, you're basically giving up one payment on your book. The result is that author's either opt out of having an index, or do it (poorly) themselves--author compiled indexes usually end up being no more than a list of proper nouns.

I personally think the cost of the index should be the publisher's responsibility, as it helps sell a book to have a good index. It's usually the first thing I look at when buying a non-fiction book--I flip to the back, look up something I hope the book covers, then read the passage. If I like what I see, I buy the book.
posted by melgy at 8:19 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


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