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Information on Indexing

Beyond Book Indexing: A Review

by Kathleen Spaltro
© Copyright 2000 by Kathleen Spaltro. All Rights Reserved.

Professionals trained in back of the book indexing often feel both intrigued and somewhat intimidated by the novelties collectively termed "web indexing." However, like settlers in America bringing their seeds and seedlings from abroad, they will find a new habitat in which some of what they cherish as familiar will still flourish. Beyond Book Indexing, a new Information Today Incorporated and American Society of Indexers publication, provides a much-needed reference with which they may chart the unknown seas of web indexing.

This resource compiles "how-to" articles useful for several distinct purposes. Thus, an indexer might pick up this text at different points in her or his professional development: first to skim, then to plan, and still later to go back to it to meet another goal, for it satisfies a multiplicity of purposes.

Recurrent features include pointers on why an hourly rate is more reasonable than a per-page rate, on how an indexer can get work and market herself or himself, and on where to find more information in both print and online resources.

The text serves the purposes of the following people (or the same person at different points in her or his professional evolution):

  1. external directories of web sites;
  2. internal indexes of web sites, including discussions of how to create navigation structures that improve access to the site's contents and of how to compare search engines to web indexes;
  3. meta tags for web pages to ensure that search engines will catalogue the web pages properly;
  4. indexes to computer texts;
  5. online help as a form of web indexing;
  6. indexes to online publications;
  7. CD-ROM indexes that may include multimedia features such as sound and images.

On the way to looking up any particular topic, the reader will glean insights that will render the unfamiliar world of computer-transformed indexing less strange. Embedded indexing and web indexing, for instance, share a common feature of having floating locators. Having no page references on a web site creates such challenges as distinguishing between a substantive and a superficial discussion and differentiating multiple references. Solutions proposed and explained here include writing "locator text," sorting locators, rating them, or even going to the extent of creating multiple indexes. Thus, besides giving direction to an indexer seeking information about a particular topic, the book begins to demystify the entire subject. It will be a purchase that will prove valuable, not once, but many times.

Review author: Kathleen Spaltro

For more information on purchasing this book, please see the following sites:

ASI publications page
Information Today, Inc. indexing books