Starting An Indexing Business, Part 1: Training

Hi, everyone! For my last two columns, I would like to talk about how one goes about starting an indexing business. I believe that the skills needed to become a good indexer are partly innate and partly acquired. My indexing teacher, the great Kari Kells, says in the introduction to her Basic Indexing Tutorial that on her first day of an indexing class she took in library school, she knew she had found the perfect career as her teacher described the way she had always automatically sorted her photos by category, and Kari nodding and smiling as she recalled her own automatic sorting of M&Ms by color, and music by genre, then alphabetical,then chronological, etc. (Anyone out there nodding and smiling at this?)

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Interviews With Indexers

Hi, everyone! Continuing last column’s discussion of the history of indexing, I have found that these days there are almost as many methods of index creation as there are indexers! At this point I felt like my book research could only take me so far, so I decided to interview a few longtime indexers to get some anecdotes on the topic. Mike Bennett, Ellen Chapman, Linda Hallinger, Pam Rider, Barbara Roos and Kamm Schreiner come from a variety of backgrounds and I learned a lot from speaking with them!

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A History of Index Creation

Hi, everyone! For this column I would like to talk a little about the history of the index. I don’t think this is something I learned about in indexing school, so writing this will be a history lesson for all of us! Even before books were invented,the Greeks and Romans were already hard at work discovering different ways of organizing information. One of the first forms of written material they used was the papyrus scroll, but it was not very efficient when it came to information retrieval.

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The Importance of Indexes

The most frequently-asked question that professional indexers get, it seems, is “can’t a computer do that?” My next column will deal with the differences between an index and a concordance, which is what computers can do, but in the meantime I want to explain what an index is and why indexes are a necessary part of a book. The American Society of Indexers website ( Read More