My guest posts about indexing can be found on the blogs, At Least We're Here and Message in a Bottle. I was featured in the Spotlight section of the April, 2022 issue of ASI's monthly newsletter, See Also.
"The American Society for Indexing, Inc. (ASI) is a national association founded in 1968 to promote excellence in indexing and increase awareness of the value of well-written and well-designed indexes. ASI serves indexers, librarians, abstractors, editors, publishers, database producers, data searchers, product developers, technical writers, academic professionals, researchers and readers, and others concerned with indexing. It is the only professional organization in the United States devoted solely to the advancement of indexing, abstracting and related methods of information retrieval."
What should publishers know about how indexers do their job?
This webinar, "Indexing Confidential" shows how publishers and indexers can work together to create better books.
An author's perspective on the value of the indexer's work:
From The Chronicle of Higher Education, "My Last Index"
"Is Indexing an Art or a Science?", from the Lex Academic Blog
Favorite quotes about indexes and indexing:
"The man who publishes a book without an index ought to be damned 10 miles beyond Hell, where the Devil himself cannot get for stinging nettles." ~ John Baynes (1758-1787)
[From the book, The Madman's Library, by Edward Brooke-Hitching.]
"Yet I must admit something else here, even though it will make me seem like a megalomaniac: I love reading the index to any book I publish. It's always my favorite part. Exploring the index from a book you created is like having someone split your head open with an axe so that you can peruse the contents of your brain. It's the alphabetizing of your consciousness." [ From the introduction to Chuck Klosterman's collection, X]
"Doctor Nonentity, a metaphysician...Most people think him a profound scholar: but as he seldom speaks, I cannot be positive in that particular. He generally spreads himself before the fire, folds his hands, talks little, drinks much...I am told he writes indexes to perfection." ~ Oliver Goldsmith, The Citizen of the World, Letter No. 7 (1759)
[Quoted in Hazel Bell's Indexers and Indexes in Fact & Fiction]
"Writing makes civilization possible. Printing makes science possible. Indexing makes them [both] accessible." ~Peter T. Daniels [quoted in A Place for Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order by Judith Flanders]
"I did find a book about chemistry, but I didn't want to read it. It was as big as a cake and it was called 'Chemistry'. It had no index, so there was no way to look in the back of the book to see where the sections on laudanum were. You had to stumble on them. I wanted to stumble on whoever had made the decision not to put an index in the back of 'Chemistry'." [from When Did You See Her Last by Lemony Snicket]
"One of the drawbacks of keeping a journal is the difficulty of finding important entries again and so it is my practice to use one notebook as an index to all the others. In this notebook I have allocated a certain number of pages to each letter of the alphabet (more pages for common letters, such as A and C; fewer for letters that occur less frequently, for example Q and X). Under each letter I list entries by subject and where in my Journals they are to be found." [From Piranesi by Susanna Clarke]