What is an index?
An index is a form of writing. It is a stuctured 'map' of the substantive content of a text that helps the reader in finding information.
Why is an index necessary?
An index enhances the useability of a book or document by making information more easily retrievable for the reader. In its structure, it makes clear the relationship between the various arguments, concepts, and factual information within a text.
Who are indexers?
Indexers are professionals, either in-house or freelance, who specialize in writing indexes of different kinds. The traditional indexer is what is called a "back of the book" indexer and, as the title states, indexes books. In contrast, some indexers provide web indexing services, which can involve creating links within a web document or between web sites.
How is an index written?
Every indexer has his or her own process to constructing an index and applies the following skills: reading comprehension, text analysis, the use of judgment, the ability to organize ideas and information, and an attention to detail.
Every indexer brings his/her own style to the finished product.
Indexers use dedicated indexing software for speed and flexibility in index construction, sorting, formatting and editing.
Where can one obtain more information about indexing?
The following professional associations provide a wealth of information on this topic: