April 25th, 2024 in Writing by April Michelle Davis 0

I often wonder if anyone grew up wanting to be an indexer because I have noticed that people usually get into the indexing profession via other jobs or interests. In 2001, I was strictly an editor. Then, when working in-house for a magazine, I branched into proofreading. Later, while taking courses to obtain a certificate in professional editing, I took an elective course in indexing. And through that course, I discovered a new love.

Indexing is another form of writing without the luxury of full sentences and paragraphs of explanation. The words must be succinct and precise. Organization is even more important in indexing than it is in writing. The professional indexer knows how to define a whole concept in just a word or small phrase, and language and usage become more acute.

Indexing requires judgment and selectivity. The indexer determines what is most important in the text and then makes it accessible and understandable to readers. As in writing, the reader is the main focus in indexing.

Many people do not see indexing as a form of writing, and often indexers do not receive acknowledgement for their work, implying a lack of respect and accountability or ignorance of the profession. Just like writers, indexers have a right to claim authorship. The U.S. copyright laws cover indexes.

Popular opinion upholds indexing as a dull job, a life opposite to that of a glamorous writer, therefore defacing the profession. If you have the opportunity to compare two indexes of a same work done by different people, you will notice the originality of both.