National Indexing Day online seminar 29 March 2018
School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University
The last event for the first ever Australian National Indexing Day was an online presentation by Mary Coe and Madeleine Davis for students at the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University. The seminar ran from 6:30 to 7:30 pm on Thursday, 29 March 2018 and was attended by 21 students.
Mary started things off by explaining the difference between an analytical index and a concordance and emphasising that an indexer’s job is to help people find information. She then walked the students through her professional career working as a book indexer, database indexer, and website indexer. She also touched on metadata analysis and search engine optimisation, which require skills similar to indexing. Mary introduced the students to the many indexing societies around the world and the international journal, The Indexer. She finished off with a few words about her research into use of e-book indexes as a PhD student at Charles Sturt University.
Madeleine then took over with an illustration of where indexing fits in the wider world of information organisation. She talked about her professional career and entertained the students with amusing stories about the many interesting books she has indexed over the years. Getting a bit more serious, she provided details on indexing software, the types of materials that can be indexed, and the skills required of indexers. She also talked about subject specialisation, bias, how indexes differ from search engines and contents pages, and the usefulness of indexes. Finally, she donned her ANZSI President hat and explained what the society has to offer, including training courses, events, accreditation, and conferences.
The presentation finished with a few words from both Mary and Madeleine on the future of indexing and a collection of indexer jokes. Judging by the comments in the online chat box, the students were amused by the jokes! There was time for questions, and the students had lots of them. They included queries about subject specialisation, search engine optimisation, the process of indexing, archival indexing, and acknowledgement of the indexer in books. Several students also expressed their admiration of indexers and thanks for the work that they do, which was a sweet note to end on.