Newcomers: A Selection of Articles for Those New to Indexing

G Browne et al, Society of Indexers, 2012, £9.37 (ebook), ISBN 978 1 291 14854 1

Reviewed by Sue Littleford

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A good index, we are told, gives the user multiple entry points into the document at hand. Those cunning folk at the Society of Indexers have applied precisely this principle to their collection of 23 articles culled from The Indexer, the first of a planned series.

Newcomers brings together articles on topics ranging from setting yourself up in business and calculating what to charge to detailed arguments in the classification versus direct entry debate and choosing sound terms to include in your index. There are also articles on the software available, and on embedded indexing.

People come to indexing with a range of backgrounds, transferable skills and transferable knowledge. Some articles were useful (I'm a newcomer myself), some merely interesting (though none the worse for that), some were more suitable for people further along with their training. Naturally, the style of writing varies too, from the chummy and informal to the brisk and content- dense.

Newcomers is an ebook only. I read it on my Kindle and the Kindle app on my iPad, but you can read it on your PC. The endnotes to each piece became irritating. The title of each article has the note marker 'a', which links to the note giving the original publication details. Actually, the note is not 'a' but '1'. That wouldn't matter if some of the articles didn't already have endnotes, in which case you get two notes numbered 1. Further, the Kindle/Kindle app didn't jump to the note but to the end of the piece (and on at least one occasion to the start of the next article), meaning that you have to page back to the requisite note, past the references and later notes. And I did spot a few typos.

Yes, it's indexed – a proper ebook index with no page numbers. The cross references and direct references I tested all worked perfectly.

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