Christine Dudgeon, Indexing and Proofreading

Why Do You Need an Index?

Think about the important information you have worked to develop and explain in your publication. Your reader will always be able to find it if you have an index.

Even after your book is read from cover to cover, your reader will remember something and want to reread it. It can be difficult to find that page again without an index.

Many people buy a book as a reference. They will not read about a subject until they need to. When that happens, they must be able to flip to the back, find the topic alphabetically listed, and be directed to all pages with the required information.

The Indexer's Role

As your indexer, I will read the text carefully and thoroughly. As I read, I think about the reason a particular statement was written:

  • What is the concept discussed here?
  • How does it relate to other information in the text?
  • How will the reader look for it in the index?

Some technical aspects I will consider are:

  • Format of the index or style guide to be followed
  • Space restrictions
  • The author's terminology and alternate terms an index user may use

The book must be in the final proof stage with page numbers finalized before indexing can begin.The speed of indexing is affected by the complexity of the subject matter and the density of the text.

I use dedicated indexing software to produce an index that meets the publisher's style requirements. A computer program can be used to assist in the development of the index but cannot create a good index itself. Analysis of the document, organizational structure of the index, and alternate terminology selection can only be done by an indexer.

© 2006-2016
Christine Dudgeon