Indexing Information

Subject: Indexing Information
From: Lori Lathrop <76620 -dot- 456 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 1994 23:43:10 EST

In response to LaVonna Funkhouser's request for indexing information ....

I'm a freelance indexer and member of the American Society of Indexers
(ASI), and I have submitted numerous posts concerning indexing to this
list. I'll be happy to look back through my mail folder and send you
(via e-mail) any posts that contain information not already supplied by
others in response to your request for info.

Since someone else has posted a recent FAQ from the INDEX-L, that's a
great place to start. And, of course, I'd encourage anyone serious about
indexing to join ASI. The annual membership fee is $50, and the ASI
newsletter, KeyWords, is an excellent source if information for both
beginners and experienced indexers.

ASI also publishes several small books on indexing. BTW, they are
publishing my book, _An Indexer's Guide to the Internet_, and plan to have
it ready in time for the ASI annual conference, which will be in San
Diego in mid-May (just before the STC annnual conference).

Since I don't want to use this list for marketing purposes, please send
me your "snail mail" address if you're interested in my two-day Indexing
Skills Workshop, and I'll be happy to send the info to you.

In the ASI Index Evaluation Checklist, a guide to help authors, editors,
publishers, reviewers, and librarians assess index quality:

Reader Appropriateness
Have index terms been supplied which the intended reader is most likely to
look up first? Examples: "heart attack" in a book for the general public,
"myocardial infarction" in a book for health professionals; "Taxus in a
work for botanists or horticulturalists, "Yew in a work for home

Main Headings
Are the main headings relavant to the needs of the reader? Are they
pertinent, specific, comprehensive? Not too general yet not too narrow?
Not inane or improbable?

Do main headings have not more than 5 - 7 locators (page references)? If
more, they should be broken down into subheadings.

Are the subheadings useful? "Roosevelt, Franklin, problems with
Republicans, 1 - 32" is not useful.

Are subheadings concise, with the most important word at the beginning?
For example, not "banks, and relationship to Federal Reserve Bank" but
"banks, Federal Reserve regulation". Unnecessary words and phrases like
"concerning" and "relating to" and a proliferation of prepositions and
articles should be avoided.

Is the number of subheadings about right? More than one column's worth is
probably too many. Are subheadings overanalyzed? Could they be combined?
For example, could "dimensions" be substituted for "height," "width," and
length?" Or should some subheadings become main headings with their own
subheadings instead?

Do subheadings have no more than 5 - 7 locators? If more, they should
either be broken down into subheadings or be changed to main headings.

Double Postings
For the reader's convenience, many subheadings should be double posted --
that is, they should exist as main headings, too. An example: "Cats:
Siamese" and "Siamese cats". Has this been done? Double postings should,
of course, have the same locators. Do they?

Lori Lathrop ----------> INTERNET:76620 -dot- 456 -at- compuserve -dot- com
Lathrop Media Services
P.O. Box 808
Georgetown, CO 80444

P.S. There is an Indexing Tools folder that is quite active in the
Writers/Non-Fiction area on America Online. If any of you subscribe to
AOL, please join us there.

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