Magazine article Information Today

Current Trends in Book Indexing

Magazine article Information Today

Current Trends in Book Indexing

Article excerpt

We're all familiar with the book index. Located at the end of a paper volume, it contains an alphabetical listing of the subjects that are covered, and you can use it to quickly locate information on a topic of particular interest. Professional indexers have been creating these lists for many years. However, the publishing industry has undergone rapid changes lately. Automation has led to computerized-layout and desktop publishing as well as fully online publishing. Indexers have moved into these new areas with confidence and have developed a variety of new skills. If you're an indexer who's unsure about how to move into the future, or a budding indexer just getting started in the field, Beyond Book Indexing: How to Get Started in Web Indexing, Embedded Indexing, and Other Computer-Based Media is a good introduction to the topics listed in its subtitle.

Beyond Book Indexing is the most recent of several books published for the American Society of Indexers (ASI) by Information Today, Inc. As the major U.S. trade organization in its field, ASI publishes materials of interest to its members and others. This collection of articles brings together a wealth of information for indexers. Editors Diane Brenner and Marilyn Rowland are both independent, professional indexers and active members of ASI. The authors of the 12 chapters are also professional indexers who participate in a wide variety of projects and industries.

Beyond Book Indexing is divided into four parts, each with a specific subject emphasis. Part 1 focuses on embedded indexing, which is used in the computerized publishing of traditional paper books. This technique allows the indexer to mark the topics that will be indexed in the main text of an electronic document. The index is then generated from the book's text itself. The indexer is often working on the text files as the writer and publisher complete them, rather than receiving a finished book to index. Jan C. Wright provides an excellent introduction to the world of embedded indexing, and Lynn Moncrief explains its importance in indexing computer-related books.

Part 2 moves on to Web indexing, and several chapters describe its different aspects. Kevin Broccoli and Gerry Van Ravenswaay have some insightful comments about the Web. They feel "a successful Web index is measured by how quickly users can get in and out of the index page and find the desired information. The faster the user can get in, find the information, and go to the document, the better the index:' Seth Maislin describes the differences between a book and the Web-based environment. …

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