Indexing is a profession: Learn from the experts! This session had a lot of votes, so we found Lucie Haskins, professional indexer, and found a time when she can come talk!
Here's what she's going to talk about:
In the age of rapid fire information exchange, the artful skill of categorizing and organizing content has never been more critical. For Technical Communicators, the complexities are astounding when you consider accessibility from multiple perspectives and then compounded when you factor multi channel delivery.
In this TC Dojo we will show you how you can begin to think like an indexer when designing your strategy. How to categorize and organize hierarchies of information and, most importantly, how to craft your indexing from objectivity. This Dojo session will introduce you to the skills that will enable you to create succinct indexes consistently for all of your publications.
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Recorded: December 2013
Transcript (Expand to View)
[00:00:00.150] - Janice Summers
Good morning and welcome to the TC Dojo. So today we're going to be talking about indexing. These Dojos are designed to be interactive, so feel free any time during the conversation to type your questions in the chat box, and we'll go ahead and ask them of the presenter.
[00:00:19.710] - Janice Summers
Today's topic is how to think like an indexer. My name is Janice. I'm going to be your moderator. I also have Liz Fraley here. And we're interviewing Lucie Haskins, who's visiting our TC Dojo. She has built her career indexing.
[00:00:37.710] - Janice Summers
So Liz, how did you meet Lucie?
[00:00:41.350] - Liz Fraley
So Lucie came to me. She was looking for software that would help indexes in XML. And we managed to figure out that there were some things that it did well and some things that it didn't do well, and for the situation she had, it turned out not to work out all that great.
[00:00:59.580] - Liz Fraley
But yes, she didn't really need what we were talking about, and all the things that indexers do, are innate to them and the software, was not the key component for the project she was working on.
[00:01:12.480] - Liz Fraley
But still, I knew talking to her that first time that there was... I learned a ton of things just talking to her a few times. And I know that there's more that she has to teach everyone. Lucy, are you here?
[00:01:25.100] - Lucie Haskins
Yes, I am. And thank you for inviting me. I'm so excited to share my knowledge of indexing and my passion for indexing with you.
[00:01:32.580] - Janice Summers
And we're excited to have you here. And I'm sure that everyone who's in attendance is going to be intrigued also. So I'll start out with a question, what is an indexer?
[00:01:46.940] - Lucie Haskins
Indexer is somebody that you never think about, because invariably before you know about indexing as a career, everybody thinks indexes are done automatically. An indexer is somebody who willingly organizes information and makes it available in an index in the back of books or in other methods.
[00:02:13.350] - Janice Summers
Okay, so now how does a person... So it's-- I'm in techpubs and one of the things we kind of talk about is how to think like an indexer, how does an indexer think?
[00:02:24.780] - Lucie Haskins
Oh boy, that is a great question. The best way to approach it, I think, would be is if you're thinking you're flying in an airplane and you're looking down at the ground and you see a big forest. So you get this really high level overview of what the contour of the land is and what the geography is.
[00:02:47.610] - Lucie Haskins
And then somehow you magically transport yourself. You're inside the forest and you see the individual trees. An indexer looks at the high level overview, the whole structure of the book, as well as all the details of the book, the components.
[00:03:03.290] - Janice Summers
All right, so they can see the forest or the trees.
[00:03:06.470] - Liz Fraley
And the trees.
[00:03:07.790] - Lucie Haskins
And the trees.
[00:03:10.670] - Liz Fraley
Excellent. I've heard you say, Lucy, that the indexer is the liaison between the author and the reader. What do you mean by that?
[00:03:18.890] - Lucie Haskins
Well, the author, whenever, of course, you read books. When you read books, the author has his or her own terminology, ways of phrasing things. And the readers, when they're unfamiliar with the material, may not be aware of particular phrasing for specific words or whatever.
[00:03:39.920] - Lucie Haskins
So the reader may be thinking of, say for a printer manual, that they want to be able to change a cartridge, but they don't know how the author is using those words or that concept in the text.
[00:03:54.020] - Lucie Haskins
So what the indexer does is they understand what the author is doing and the terms that he or she uses, and then they present an access point to that terminology for the reader. So sometimes it's cross references. When you see terms and then you see a straight cross reference another term, that's like a vocabulary control.
[00:04:16.350] - Lucie Haskins
You're using the access point or the word that you think the reader is going to use, and then steering them directly to what the author is using, so they can find the information, even though it's worded differently than they thought it would be.
[00:04:31.280] - Liz Fraley
This is an important point, actually, because half the time, I know, certainly when I come to something new, I don't know the vocabulary that the company, the software is using or the writer is using, and I don't even know what to look up.
[00:04:48.680] - Lucie Haskins
[00:04:50.990] - Liz Fraley
So how do you start figuring out the vocabulary, the author, the vocabulary of the reader, access points? What are all those things?
[00:05:00.230] - Lucie Haskins
You have to get familiar with both the audience, what the readership will be. Is this for just the general public? Is this for an advanced chemistry class or something else? And you also have to be familiar with the book.
[00:05:17.900] - Lucie Haskins
So a lot of indexers have different approaches to getting familiar with the book itself. For the readers, they always ask their contacts at the publishing houses or wherever they are... Whatever books they're indexing, for those kind of questions. Who do you expect your readers to be, that kind of thing.
[00:05:37.370] - Lucie Haskins
But for the book itself, you have to delve into the mind of the author. And the way that I like to do this is to get a really quick overview of the book, which is through the table of contents that shows the hierarchy of information.
[00:05:52.580] - Lucie Haskins
I love reading the introductions and the preface, because the author generally states what the book is going to be about and the main concepts covered. And then I love it, like especially if it's a textbook or more of the computer books that I do--
[00:06:07.790] - Lucie Haskins
If there are glossary terms in the back, or if there are terms at the end of chapters, it's just like a huge light bulb on what's important to the author, because those are terms that they highlight and identify that will be in the text.
[00:06:24.560] - Liz Fraley
Wow, that sounds like a great approach to get started looking at those clues in the text. And it sounds like in some ways you're doing sort of a sanity check on the information, to make sure that it becomes more accessible.
[00:06:42.450] - Lucie Haskins
Yes, and it's good for me, too, because it's a really fascinating technique. When I first start an index, it's like I'm preloading my brain with all of these concepts, and then I just dish out the information I need, as I need it, as it goes along.
[00:07:00.640] - Lucie Haskins
And it's only for that current project that I work on. After I finish that project and I go on to another one, I sort of reboot and clear all that stuff up. But I just love that stuffing process in the beginning, because I learn as much as I can, and I get a real comfort with the material that I'm working with.
[00:07:18.240] - Janice Summers
Interesting, are there other kinds of approaches that people take? I know this is your favorite kind.
[00:07:24.910] - Lucie Haskins
Yes, because I don't highlight terms. I don't read the book before I start. I found that that just didn't do me any help in my indexing process. I read it as a student, I would just highlight terms. I would highlight the whole paragraph at a time. And then when it came time to input the material, it's like I had to reread it all over again because I didn't have the key words or anything.
[00:07:47.760] - Lucie Haskins
Other indexers are really good at reading the material first and making little notes on the sides and highlighting the terms. So essentially, they can do just the data entry process when they go through the book the second time, and they pick up everything that they've underlined or highlighted.
[00:08:04.320] - Lucie Haskins
So for me, by skipping that step of the highlighting and underlining, this is the way for me to preload my brain.
[00:08:12.120] - Liz Fraley
Cool. So what are some of the rules that we need to be aware of?
[00:08:20.220] - Lucie Haskins
Readers love consistency, and there's a trust, an implicit trust that's established when they go through the index. They have this belief that the index is created with all of the valuable information that they will need in there, and it's applied consistently and it's accurate, and that they'll be easy to use.
[00:08:43.170] - Lucie Haskins
So you have to think of all those points and not betray the trust of the reader. So one of the first things that you have to be aware of is, when you pick up a piece of information, be consistent, meaning that if you pick up something on cat nutrition on page three, and there's a huge discussion on it on page 25, that you don't skip over that for one reason or another.
[00:09:07.440] - Lucie Haskins
That every time there's a nice, meaty discussion on cat nutrition, it goes in the index, and so the reader knows that when they go to that entry, cat nutrition, they will find all of the discussions that are in the book and they can go to those places.
[00:09:25.770] - Liz Fraley
So it's not so much a--every time this term appears on this page, let's put it in the index?
[00:09:31.080] - Lucie Haskins
No, no. You have to very much distinguish between what we call a passing mention, and something that's meaty. There's an indexer, Laurie Lathrop, who had the phrase 'happy to be here', which means if you point the reader to a page, are they going to be happy to go to that page?
[00:09:52.260] - Lucie Haskins
Will they find a nice nugget or a piece of information, or will it be just a passing mention, something that just, say, it's a person's name, like George Washington, and they just happened to mention something in passing about George Washington.
[00:10:11.160] - Lucie Haskins
But if you go to that page, you don't find anything more than George Washington's name there. You don't find anything about his presidency or his youth or anything. No new nuggets of information are picked up. That's not worth pointing the reader to. They get nothing from that exercise.
[00:10:28.950] - Liz Fraley
That's great. I know that you also have said pick it up. What does it mean to pick it up?
[00:10:34.980] - Lucie Haskins
Well, that was the one about being consistent. So the other one that I like to think of is don't rewrite the book in the index, meaning that you don't have to tell them the author's viewpoint, or the whole history of the war or something in the index.
[00:10:52.590] - Lucie Haskins
What you do, is provide enough succinct wording, so the reader captures an idea of what information is contained on that page, and then you point them to that page and they will find everything they need to know. You just need to wordsmith it in short phrases, so they have an idea of what concepts are on that page.
[00:11:15.840] - Liz Fraley
So that sounds like it's also related to the undifferentiated sub entry problem that we've all encountered.
[00:11:23.070] - Lucie Haskins
Yeah, you can be very good at all these terms.
[00:11:26.040] - Liz Fraley
That one I remember, because that's what I struggle with. When I see that index, you're like, well, why am I on this page?
[00:11:33.840] - Lucie Haskins
Yeah, undifferentiated locators are what you encounter when you have a main entry, like cat nutrition that has 15 or a whole slew of different page numbers right after it. There are no sub entries. There's no further information except that there are 15 page numbers that contain information on cat nutrition.
[00:11:54.990] - Lucie Haskins
Now, readers will not go through all 15 pages to try to find out if whatever they're looking for, like maybe it's minerals or feeding habits or something. What they need, especially when there's more than three or four pages, separate pages, is to break those terms down into sub entries.
[00:12:21.830] - Lucie Haskins
So there's a little bit more information under cat nutrition. Perhaps there's something on how often to feed them, what to feed them, that kind of thing. And then if you break it down, it helps the reader so much, because they don't have to struggle with what's with all of these pages.
[00:12:39.830] - Lucie Haskins
They know which chunk of information is contained within each page, and that helps them so much. And that's our job, is to help the reader find the information as quickly and easily as possible.
[00:12:52.140] - Lucie Haskins
Well, yeah, I've heard you say that the indexer is the liaison between the author and the reader.
[00:12:57.650] - Lucie Haskins
Yes. So we're looking out for the author, because it's his or her book, and we want to do it justice and capture all the main concepts. But we also want to make sure that the reader gets all the information in an easy way possible that's understandable to them.
[00:13:16.960] - Liz Fraley
Cool. So this sounds like a lot of analysis of the text, and it's interesting that you come in as an outsider, so it's easier to see. But is there also a framework and a structure you apply to indexes?
[00:13:30.100] - Lucie Haskins
Yes, it's really important. And I think indexes on their own, it's both an art and a science because there are rules and guidelines, but every index is different. And if you had three or four professional indexers indexing the same book, all the indexes would be different, but equally good, because all of them had that creativity and the perspective of the individual's experience and everything else thrown into it.
[00:13:59.050] - Lucie Haskins
And that makes it fascinating, because it frees you up too to do what you think is the best job that you can do without regarding you have to fit it into this peg that always is exactly the same. And the framework is, when you look at all the main entries that have a lot of subentries under them that are the major concepts, you want to make sure that all the major concepts are captured, all the implied relationships that aren't stated.
[00:14:26.830] - Lucie Haskins
But, if you have cat nutrition, you might want to look under feline nutrition points to it or something like that, where that wouldn't be obvious in the text.
[00:14:41.520] - Liz Fraley
So there's a quote you sent me that I absolutely love, and I've heard it come from the mouths of many tech writers. It's a quote from Sears and Roebuck, the company consumer guide in 1897. And the quote is, "if you don't find it in the index, look very carefully through the entire catalog."
[00:15:03.060] - Lucie Haskins
So who will do that?
[00:15:05.500] - Liz Fraley
Nobody. So what are some common mistakes?
[00:15:11.690] - Lucie Haskins
Well, common mistakes for?
[00:15:13.550] - Liz Fraley
Indexers and indexes.
[00:15:15.950] - Lucie Haskins
Oh, okay. Well, a lot of times, indexers won't have enough of a grasp of a subject to know what the implied concepts are. And so what they do is if they just barely know what the subject matter is, then they'll have some problems picking up the implied concepts. And it won't be as robust an index, as it would be if it was a more experienced, knowledgeable indexer.
[00:15:45.710] - Lucie Haskins
There's also the idea of making sure that you capture the structure or the framework, that the main themes, the main concepts, the meta topics as you will, to make sure that everything is captured in there that's important, and that the reader has easy access to all of it.
[00:16:04.900] - Lucie Haskins
Now, I repeat myself in a lot of ways, but these concepts are just so important. Visual appeal is really important too. When you think of, a lot of indexes that bleed over onto a second line, and how hard it is for the eye to follow that, it's really important to be as succinct as possible.
[00:16:24.840] - Lucie Haskins
That's where the wordsmithing comes in, to be able to provide just the right phrasing so the reader knows exactly what's on a page, and not being a complete... If you double post. So you have something under cat nutrition. I'm using this because I can't think of anything else in nutrition comma cat, and you've got like 10 different entries.
[00:16:48.050] - Lucie Haskins
But cat nutrition has 10 entries, and nutrition comma cat only has nine. You did the reader a disservice by not having complete information in both access points. The reader expects that wherever they go in the index, they're going to find all the information.
[00:17:05.910] - Lucie Haskins
So if the double posting isn't accurate and complete in both instances, that's a huge disservice to them because they're missing information and they don't realize they are.
[00:17:16.880] - Lucie Haskins
I mean, there are a whole bunch of other common issues. The American Society for Indexing has a website, asindexing.org, and there's actually a checklist on it that shows the traits or the characteristics of a good index, that points out some of these items that you need to consider when you're creating an index.
[00:17:44.700] - Liz Fraley
Very cool, so that I want to make sure to save for when we get to learn more asindexing.org also, but what other kind of roadblocks stand in the way of an indexer getting an index done and done well?
[00:18:00.990] - Lucie Haskins
A lot of them are client requirements, because it isn't this case of where the indexer works in a free universe. We have restrictions, and clients have formats and guidelines and you have to follow them.
[00:18:17.370] - Lucie Haskins
One of the biggest, well, there are a couple of issues, but the first one I'm going to talk about is the page limitations. On a typical index, if it's like for a general index, you put like about five entries per page that are indexable.
[00:18:33.420] - Lucie Haskins
And by coincidence, that turns into a five percent index, which is five percent of the total book pages. So if you had a 200 page book, a five percent index would be 10 pages allocated for the index.
[00:18:49.830] - Lucie Haskins
Often when the client runs into space constraints, the index is first to go or shortened, and often, we can run into the situation where the index really should be 10 pages, but the client says, no, we only have room for five, because they don't want to add another signature to it or whatever.
[00:19:12.550] - Lucie Haskins
So you have all of these concepts that you need to cram in to half the space that they should belong into. And that can cause some problems with more of those undifferentiated locators, because you don't have room to put all the subentries, or you combine terms, you don't have double postings, those kind of things. So it makes it a little harder for the reader.
[00:19:32.710] - Lucie Haskins
Another one is time pressures. The index is the last part of the book to get done, and print dates can be hard and fast. So if there are delays on the front end, where copyediting took longer or the author took more time than was allocated but you couldn't do anything about it, the time compresses.
[00:19:53.050] - Lucie Haskins
And by the time the indexer gets the book, they may not have two weeks to do an index. They may have five days. And it's hard to do as thorough a job in the limited time frame, as it would when you had the time that you needed.
[00:20:11.500] - Lucie Haskins
Another one is software that you use. Professional indexers use one of three major software indexing packages, and that's on the ASI website. But if you use embedded indexing package modules, like the ones found in InDesign or FrameMaker, they're not as robust as the professional packages are, and they take more time because there aren't the time saving mechanisms in them that indexers are used to, and that has to be built into the process.
[00:20:46.030] - Lucie Haskins
Or you run into problems trying to cram working, doing all of this with a tool that isn't as user-friendly as you would need it to be.
[00:20:57.800] - Liz Fraley
Oh, that's really fabulous things to know about. Honestly, it's great. And you speak with great passion about what you do. So if I wanted to learn more, if I am a tech writer, or somebody who produces content, where do I start? What kinds of things do I need to learn?
[00:21:17.510] - Lucie Haskins
Okay, the ASI website has a wonderful references pages. There are a lot of classes because one of the things is, even though all of us use indexes, it's not 100 percent intuitive on how to create them, because there's so many factors that go into it, like I mentioned, that need to be considered, that people just don't ordinarily think of unless that's pointed out to them.
[00:21:44.210] - Lucie Haskins
Now, we are in a great time nowadays where we have multiple packages available for people willing or interested in learning. These are all online courses, because there's no sense in trying to have a physical university, try to have a physical class when indexers are scattered far and wide.
[00:22:07.100] - Lucie Haskins
So these online correspondence courses are really good. There's a USDA course, which I think is called the graduate school course. Now, the ASI has its own course and there's a UC Berkeley course also. And those are all listed on the website.
[00:22:24.590] - Lucie Haskins
They offer all the fundamentals. They provide practical experience in creating sample indexes and have a user / instructor interaction. There are also mentors that help you one-on-one. But I think training is really a good way to go about it because it's really hard to learn what you don't know if you don't know it, and it's not pointed out to you.
[00:22:51.680] - Janice Summers
And I think you also said before that there's a checklist, an indexing checklist?
[00:22:55.980] - Liz Fraley
Yes. That's a great first step because there's actually an index prize that's awarded each year for the best index. So it's not just the best index, so some users aren't winners. It's like an index that's just worthy of the award. And that checklist is a prelude to that, to how do you create an index that's worthy of an award type thing?
[00:23:24.890] - Janice Summers
I want to remind everybody, if you have any questions, please feel free to type them into the chat box. We'll make sure we ask Lucie those questions, because we're coming close to the end of our session. So make sure you're thinking of those questions and type them in, and we'll ask them of Lucie while we have her captive.
[00:23:45.070] - Janice Summers
One of the things she was talking about earlier, you and us were talking about earlier, and I know in Tech Comm, technical publications were advocates for the reader. They were advocates for the consumer. And it's interesting that you become the liaison between the author, sometimes with the author and the reader.
[00:24:07.100] - Janice Summers
And that objectivity when we're creating indexing, I think was an interesting point, you guys were talking about.
[00:24:13.900] - Lucie Haskins
Yes, objectivity is very important. You don't want, in the index, for the reader to capture any idea of how the indexer feels about the book, because it's not the indexer's place to provide an input into it. It's the author's book, and it's very important to maintain that objectivity.
[00:24:36.980] - Janice Summers
Right. And I think, sometimes, when we were talking earlier about how we could, you know... We're in careers and professions and we have these acronyms. We have this common language that we talk. And I think sometimes you run into that when we're in a company and we're a subject matter expert or an author, we have a language that we talk in the company. But that might not be the language that our consumers of information use. So in there, you kind of have to be able to step back and think of it from a different perspective, right?
[00:25:10.220] - Lucie Haskins
Exactly right. Another indexer offered really interesting point of view, saying that as soon as you're familiar with the subject, you may not be a qualified indexer to write about it because you know too much. And it's more of the lingo and the jargon of that subject, as opposed to what you need to provide for the reader, which is interesting.
[00:25:30.830] - Liz Fraley
Excellent way to sum it up. All right. So let's see if we've got some questions. And while we wait, while you all type in your questions, I'm going to tell you what's coming up in the Dojo. Thank you, Lucie. You've been fabulous.
[00:25:44.700] - Lucie Haskins
[00:25:46.950] - Liz Fraley
All right, our next Dojo open session is 'To DITA or Not To DITA'. Everybody thinks that whether DITA versus DocBook is a settled answer, discussion, and the question is decided. But it seems that this is the number one hot topic in the survey. So we're going to talk about how you choose between the two and what the differences are in our next session in January.
[00:26:08.070] - Liz Fraley
Our next Arbortext Dojo Edition this month, next week, 10 days from now is property sets. This is the one of the key components for making your stylesheet reusable.
[00:26:21.370] - Liz Fraley
All right, our next-
[00:26:23.450] - Janice Summers
Very key for Arbortext, very, very, key.
[00:26:25.060] - Liz Fraley
Absolutely. Our next master session is Monday, December 16th. And this is something that's very dynamic and more conversation among peers and less of a presentation. This is something that is-- like you're getting together with your community to figure out real issues that you're facing.
[00:26:46.900] - Liz Fraley
It's been an interesting experience and everybody's really loving it now. All right, so, questions?
[00:26:54.440] - Janice Summers
[00:26:55.410] - Liz Fraley
[00:26:57.260] - Janice Summers
There's an announcement that's not in here that I want to plug, and that is for TC Camp. The date is set for January 25th. It's a Saturday. So January 25th, I'm sure a lot of you have seen an invitation, if you haven't got one. Let me know. Oh, look, I've got questions. Okay.
[00:27:23.730] - Liz Fraley
All right. Great, we love questions.
[00:27:28.320] - Janice Summers
Yeah, okay. Heaven... Index evaluation checklist. Okay, so he's posted a link in the questions for the indexing checklist. So, Liz, if you want to just paste that and put it up on the screen so people can see that.
[00:27:45.710] - Liz Fraley
All right. I will try to do that.
[00:27:48.110] - Janice Summers
Thank you, Kevin.
[00:27:49.700] - Lucie Haskins
Thank you, Kevin.
[00:27:51.890] - Janice Summers
So another question. What is the role of indexes in a non-book environment, for example, of the target media, your technical documentation is not a PDF file, but a set of small standalone topics.
[00:28:08.410] - Lucie Haskins
Okay, a set of stand alone topics? Well, it depends on if they have databases for indexes, they have journal indexing, they have... Anytime you have information that needs to be organized, there needs to be indexing or organization of it.
[00:28:28.180] - Lucie Haskins
So this is something that isn't just for books. This is how do you capture information throughout the world, take over the world with this.
[00:28:36.340] - Janice Summers
Right. So even if you have a subset, then that subset actually could be indexed.
[00:28:42.880] - Lucie Haskins
[00:28:43.900] - Janice Summers
Okay, and it's looking for what the key is in the subject.
[00:28:50.720] - Lucie Haskins
Right, the major concepts. Yeah, the information that you want to point the reader to, that's contained in that chunk of information.
[00:29:01.570] - Liz Fraley
So then you see indexes in online publications also, yes?
[00:29:06.580] - Lucie Haskins
Oh yeah. And you see indexes on websites. I mean, they even have this new term that they call 'data scientists', where it's within organizations like Google and whatever, people who are organizing information. So you know, indexes, I guess, are one way of organizing it. I'm not really sure or familiar enough with this topic to know how they organize the information. But it's the same concept. You have to pull out information or or have that point or access point to it.
[00:29:39.520] - Liz Fraley
So is there anything special about doing an index online or is that the same concepts applied?
[00:29:46.280] - Lucie Haskins
Well, for online, it's the same indexing concepts. What do you want to pull out? But the tools you use are different, because you have to access the information in a different way. And you also want to, because websites are volatile environments, you can't index it... You have to wrap your head around the volatility of the websites and what you want to capture, because you don't want your index to be out of date and pointing to things that don't belong there or don't exist anymore, links that don't exist.
[00:30:22.260] - Liz Fraley
[00:30:25.170] - Janice Summers
Next question is, is indexing a career that can provide full time employment?
[00:30:31.680] - Lucie Haskins
Oh, absolutely. I've been I've been a full time freelance indexer for 13 years, and I make a very decent living. You have to work at it just like any entrepreneur or sole proprietor. You have to know your trade. You have to market yourself and the people you market yourself to are the publishing companies, depending on where you work. I'm just talking about the books that I index, computer books.
[00:30:57.030] - Lucie Haskins
[00:30:59.040] - Janice Summers
And I think one of the one of the things that Lucie, you and I were talking about earlier in a past conversation was, most indexers, professional indexers, are freelancers.
[00:31:10.650] - Lucie Haskins
[00:31:11.460] - Janice Summers
Yeah. So that's one key difference. Okay, so how can someone go about learning to index online documents? So I think earlier you talked about online versus print, you're indexing the same thing, right?
[00:31:30.120] - Lucie Haskins
Well, it depends on what you're talking about. Are you talking about e-books, or are you talking about PDFs that are on websites? Because there are some specialty courses that are sometimes available for indexing in some of these areas. And the ASI website has pointers to the people that are offering them.
[00:31:55.230] - Janice Summers
Okay, so that's where they would also go to look, if you want to index a website too, right?
[00:32:00.720] - Lucie Haskins
Yeah. And feel free to email me. I think my email address was on the screen a while ago, with questions that you have that you may or may not have answered your specific question or whatever. And I'm very happy to talk about indexing to anybody.
[00:32:18.130] - Janice Summers
And I do want to say, and you're very interesting. Yeah.
[00:32:23.700] - Liz Fraley
And also we're talking about creating absolute indexes, not search engine optimization or automated website indexing. That's a totally different subject, guys.
[00:32:33.120] - Lucie Haskins
[00:32:34.980] - Janice Summers
So that'll answer the next question, are indexes used by search engines? So this probably ties to what Liz just said, right?
[00:32:42.420] - Liz Fraley
Partially. If an index is a published page on a web site, then search engines will index it. They will link to it because it's posted, publicly available to the search engine. But it's not quite... If you're looking for SEO, that's something different.
[00:32:58.560] - Lucie Haskins
[00:32:59.750] - Janice Summers
That's a whole another TC Dojo that will be in next year, and a TC Camp.
[00:33:04.440] - Liz Fraley
It's a TC Camp Workshop, actually.
[00:33:06.390] - Janice Summers
It is a TC Camp two-hour workshop and it's going to be fascinating. So if you're really interested in that subject, you should come to TC Camp, because we have an expert who's teaching that. Okay, so along those lines, I'm not... There's a couple more questions.
[00:33:22.740] - Janice Summers
Along those lines, I'm not sure what those lines were, so I'll just read this. How do you see indexing changing to fit the trend of younger users who may have had little or no experience with indexes, which is especially true in technical data being presented to young servicemen, Army, Navy, etc.?
[00:33:41.340] - Lucie Haskins
Well, that's interesting. I know that our profession is not widely known, and it's always a big topic of discussion for us on how to publicize the fact of indexing and indexers and indexes out there. I know there are some indexers who go to schools and introduce second graders or early elementary students to indexes in a fun way. So it's a continuing case of publicizing the value of indexes.
[00:34:19.360] - Janice Summers
Okay, last question, I have one more here. Well, it's a two part question. Can index headings created with indexing software be exported using standard interoperability text?
[00:34:33.960] - Lucie Haskins
I'm not sure.
[00:34:35.820] - Janice Summers
Okay, can the headings eventually be merged into electronic card catalogs?
[00:34:42.780] - Liz Fraley
That's a good question and probably highly dependent on the card catalog software.
[00:34:48.990] - Lucie Haskins
Okay, if it's merging or converting things, then it's a case of what tools are available to do things, and that's always changing. In ASI, we have the DTTF which is the Digital Trends Task Force, who is trying to make sure that indexes are importantly considered in all discussions with upcoming digital media, and they are doing a really good job in getting information out there and sitting on committees and getting awareness out there.
[00:35:28.000] - Lucie Haskins
So that could be something for you to look into on the website, to see if that helps you, or if they provide you with some people who might know something a little bit more about your specific topic.
[00:35:41.150] - Janice Summers
Okay, we're a little past our half hour, so that's all the time we have for questions today.
[00:35:49.060] - Liz Fraley
Thank you so much, Lucie.
[00:35:50.540] - Janice Summers
That was fascinating. Yes, thank you.
[00:35:52.910] - Lucie Haskins
And please contact me if you have any questions. I wasn't able to answer some of them. But if you need me to help you find solutions or whatever. I'd be very happy to try.
[00:36:06.530] - Janice Summers
And remember, if you want some more advanced Dojo sessions on indexing, feel free to suggest that the...
[00:36:14.210] - Liz Fraley
On the survey.
[00:36:15.850] - Janice Summers
On the survey page. Yes, thank you. I couldn't think of the word. All right, everybody, thank you for attending. It's been a pleasure. Thank you for your questions. And thank you, Lucie, so much for your time.
[00:36:28.850] - Lucie Haskins
Thank you for the opportunity.
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