National Indexing Day (UK)
Thursday 29 March 2018
The Society of Indexers is celebrating the second National Indexing Day on Thursday 29 March 2018 with a half-day event for publishers at London’s Foundling Museum. The inaugural National Indexing Day was established on 30 March 2017 to commemorate the diamond anniversary of the founding of the Society of Indexers. The day’s celebrations took place both online and in the media, including articles by Sam Leith in The Guardian and Dennis Duncan in the Times Literary Supplement (TLS). Indexers, authors and publishers joined in enthusiastically on social media using the hashtag #indexday to salute these ‘unsung heroes of the publishing world’, in Sam Leith’s words.
A good index is a vital component of almost any non-fiction book. Book reviews and social media regularly feature reviewers, students and readers expressing their frustration at poor or absent book indexes. The importance of indexing still applies to ebooks in the digital age. Dedicated indexing software can help speed up certain automated tasks but a human indexer is needed for the intellectual work. Computers can produce concordances; they can’t create an index. A Ctrl-F search is not a full solution. It does not suggest synonymous access terms unmentioned in the text, highlight connections between concepts, or distinguish between significant information and passing mentions. Professional book indexers are trained to address all of these issues, to think like the reader and to look at each text from their perspective. Moreover, with embedded indexing, an index heading can be linked to the exact relevant location in the text of an ebook. Modern professional indexers have both the know-how and the technology to achieve this.
For National Indexing Day 2018, the Society of Indexers is running a half-day event in London. Aimed at publishers, editors and commissioners of book indexes, this will be held at the Foundling Museum, Brunswick Square, from 12 noon to 4 pm on 29 March. Following a welcome from our honorary president, Sam Leith, a series of presentations will focus on current indexing practices, how to evaluate good and bad indexes, and digital developments regarding embedded and linked indexes for ebooks. There will be an ‘ask the indexers’ Q&A panel session and break times for publishers and indexers to meet and mingle. The event will provide a useful opportunity for indexers and publishers to learn from each other so that together we can create better indexes and give added value to nearly all non-fiction books. Tickets and a provisional programme are available now at: www.indexers.org.uk/news/national-indexing-day-2018. The ticket price of £30 includes all sessions, lunch and afternoon refreshments, and complimentary museum access. We look forward to another successful National Indexing Day 2018 online at #indexday and live in London.
The Society of Indexers, now based in Sheffield, was established in 1957 to promote improved standards in all forms of indexing. It is the only autonomous professional body for indexers in the United Kingdom and Ireland and is associated with other indexing organisations around the world. Its aims are to promote indexing, the quality of indexes and the profession of indexing. Membership includes around 400 specialist indexers across the UK, working for authors and publishers in more than a hundred different subjects, from accountancy to zoology. The Society maintains an online Directory of Professional Indexers, which is searchable by subjects, skills and media. Further information about its training course, conference, local groups and how to commission an indexer can be found on its website: www.indexers.org.uk