Here at PI, we’ve recently been working up a proposal for a periodical indexing job. Lots of book indexers also index professional journals, magazines, newspapers and other periodicals. The publishers count on indexers to do annual indexes as well as longer cumulative indexes for these publications.
The big challenge for these indexes is to provide consistent treatment over a very long time period. Some indexers specialize in complex topics like medical or legal journals and have worked these indexes regularly over years of service. And if the indexer is one person, this will automatically create a certain level of consistency in depth of treatment and vocabulary used (along with access to standard vocabularies like MeSH for medical documents).
There are situations, however, like the one PI is writing up the proposal for, that involve indexing a periodical over an extended period after years of the documents not being indexed at all. This sort of historical “catching up” can overwhelm a single indexer (unless one want’s to wait a very long time for results). This is where team indexing can prove very valuable.
What we do at PI is to take advantage of our 50+ indexer associate database to collect small teams for these sorts of projects. This method allows us to have a partner act as manager to ensure consistency of index treatment and vocabulary, and brings a variety of perspectives and expertise to bear on the project at the same time. In addition to doling out pages of the documents to our associates, we set up a Skype group for the team to share queries and ideas, which further enhances the quality and consistency of indexing for the project.
A side benefit is the opportunity for indexers to work together (we are normally lone workers in home offices—which tends to feed the largely introverted indexer crown but tends to be isolating after awhile). I know I’ve gained tremendously from our Skype text message threads while working on team projects. New methods for indexing are often shared as well as different perspectives on subject matter. It’s like a little built-in workshop experience.
And the end result is a great index in less time than an individual could provide. Indexing teams rock!