Winner of 2017 Purple Pen: Sergey Lobachev

Sergey Lobachev has won the 2017 Purple Pen Competition sponsored by the Institute of Certified Indexers.  His index will appear in the book The Magnificent Nahanni: The Struggle to Protect a Wild Place by Gordon and Shirley Nelson (published by the University of Regina Press).  The judges praised his index for its strong treatment of the book’s main topics which would especially aid a re-reader trying to find material.  Moreover, he provided useful conceptual analysis, for entries like “wilderness” that a word search would not catch; it takes intellectual analysis of the text to recognize these, and the index showed he had put real thought into compiling and structuring these entries.

Sergey said that this was his first project for the University of Regina Press whom he had solicited for work by sending a letter to the Press.  He found the book a challenge to index as it involved distinguishing among the Nahanni ecosystem, Nahanni National Park Reserve, Nahanni people, Nahanni River, and Nahanni Valley.  He also had to carefully input the diacritics which he did accurately and showed his attention to detail.

Sergey completed the University of California, Berkeley, course “Indexing: Theory and Application” in 2013, and shortly after had launched his indexing business.  A Board member of the Indexing Society of Canada/Société canadienne d’indexation, he lives in London, Ontario.  Prior to becoming an indexer, he worked in academic and public libraries, and he holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Western Ontario. He also retains a membership in the American Society for Indexing (ASI).

This is the fourth year that the contest has been held by ICI, and it is interesting to note what a strong showing the Canadian indexers have made in the contest, winning three out of four years! The competition was stiff for the winner, with several people entering again and using prior feedback from earlier years’ entries to improve their work.  The judges noted especially that the newbies were doing a better job in handling the metatopic in their work.  All entrants receive a detailed feedback scoresheet.

The judging is done anonymously by three members of the Institute of Certified Indexers (ICI).  The winner receives a check for $100 as well as the publicity of appearing on the ICI website: www.certifiedindexers.com and notification of the book’s publisher and authors.  This honor also helps the new indexer in terms of building confidence and gaining career satisfaction.

2017 Conference concludes

The 2017 conference was a success. Reports are to come.

In the meantime, here is a photo of some happy ISC/SCI Conference Attendees

Left to Right: Anna Oliver, Noeline Bridge, Christine Jacobs, Alex Peace, Judy Dunlop, Heather Ebbs, Margaret de Boer (Photo: Elizabeth Huyer)

Magpie Pins for Sale

ISC/SCI Magpie PinAt the ISC/SCI annual general meeting and conference in June 2009, Katherine Barber, founding editor-in-chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary department of Oxford University Press, gave a fascinating talk on the history of the word “magpie” and what it has to do with indexing.

The magpie-indexing connection

The English language is flavoured by the many cultures that have held sway in that country over the course of time: Celts, Saxons, Romans, Vikings, French, and that motley crew of people known as “English”.

The French tended to squish Latin words that came into the language by removing consonants. So the Latin “pica” (magpie) became “pia” in French and then “pie” in English. We added “mag” so that now we have “magpie” to refer to the bird that collects bits and pieces of this and that to take to its nest, much as indexers take pieces of the book and put them in their index nest. So indexers are like human magpies.

The pie we eat is related, because pies began as a collection of many foods baked together in a crust. Reference books of feast days, themselves not unlike indexes, were also called “pies”, possibly because the black ink on white pages was reminiscent of the bird’s colouring.

One last surprising connection between indexes and magpies. A type of geographical index is a gazetteer. The word is derived from “gazette”, a 17th-century tabloid-style newspaper sold in Venice for a gazeta (penny), a word derived from gazza. You guessed it: gazza is Italian for magpie.

How to buy the pins

You will be able to buy them at local meetings and the national AGM and conference, and you can also order them by mail. For the last, shipping costs will comprise the price of a small bubble-wrap envelope and whatever Canada Post charges to mail to your area of the world; for specifics, and to order, contact Heather Ebbs.