I don’t think my collection of indexing books is only because I used to be a reference librarian. Like any professional, most indexers have favorite reference materials (though many indexers are also librarians). A Most like to keep the latest Chicago Manual of Style close at hand, as well as a dictionary or two, a thesaurus, a biographical dictionary and maybe a handful of specialty volumes (I often turn to Harmon and Holman’s A Handbook to Literature when indexing literary criticism).
Lots of my reference sources are in ebook form now, making my work even more portable, and there are tons of websites with great information for novice and expert indexers alike. Here are a few websites I keep bookmarked for quick reference.
ASI Best Practices is a useful set of guidelines for indexing. While it can’t avoid the indexer’s maxim, “It depends,” it does provide clear principles and explanations, and is a great starting point for creating a good index. The appendices cover indexing specialties, such as cookbooks and textbooks.
PI’s A Brief Writer’s Guide to Indexing is just what it sounds like — an overview of the basics of indexing, from software to subheadings. It’s a PDF compilation of our “Indexing for Authors” blog series, written by partner Joanne Sprott.
Margie Towery’s Creating Better Indexes is a 10-part series in the newsletter of the Heartland chapter of ASI (found under the heading “Indexing Practice” at the link above). These articles are the basis of Margie’s excellent book, Ten Characteristics of Quality Indexes.
For name indexing, The Indexer‘s Centrepieces are an invaluable quick reference. All issues of The Indexer can be accessed here (2012 and earlier for free, if you don’t already subscribe), and ASI’s publication Key Words has quite a few articles available online as well.
Seth Maislin’s “Troubleshooting Those Horrible Microsoft Word Index Problems” is by far one of the best go-tos out there. Even with IXMLembedder and other tools that simplify embedded indexing, something wonky always happens. Seth, a former partner at Potomac Indexing and all-around taxonomy expert, put together this excellent list of fixes for the dozens of most common Word indexing problems and gives workarounds for the many without fixes.
That’s just a few of the many indexing-related bookmarks I use frequently. What are some of your go-to resources?
PI Pick of the Week
A bonus: ASI’s Special Interest Group websites have excellent collections of links and articles for subject specialties, and can be found here.