Every Three Months a Treasure

The Indexer: The International Journal of IndexingEvery three months, a treasure lands in my mailbox. As I pull it out of the clear plastic envelope, and read the article titles laid out on the smooth pastel cover, I feel again how lucky I am to be a member of the indexing community.

As usual, The Indexer I am holding is full of smart—and sometimes humourous—information, advice, and stories on all things indexing.

How is it that they never run out of ideas?

Editor Maureen MacGlashan wrote about that in 2008 in an article titled “The Indexer: past, present, and future” for the occasion of The Indexer’s 50th anniversary. In the article Maureen says that in the early years, “Those who knew no better (and, from my own experience as editor, still know) saw no future for a journal dedicating to indexing…Editors were warned: ‘You’ll never be able to keep it up; you’ll find that by the end of another year you have completely exhausted all the possible aspects of indexing.’”

Maureen then explains why that did not happen, and why it wasn’t going to be a problem, at least not in 2008.

That was ten years ago. Would Maureen say the same today?

Well, get ready to ask her at our opening session at the ISC/SCI conference.

We’re thrilled to announce that Maureen is going to give us the lowdown on her years as editor of The Indexer, in an interview with Christine Jacobson. The conference is in Winnipeg June 8-9.

A Unique Plug-in Opportunity

At the 2014 Conference in Toronto, Margery Towery gave us one of her best indexing tips: plug yourself into the subject. If you index in the Humanities, or hope to start, you cannot get more plugged in to the human condition than by exploring the world’s story of human rights.

You will have your best opportunity when you come to Winnipeg for the conference June 8-9.

Indexing in the Humanities: visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the only museum in the world that explores human rights as a topic and an aspiration. The stories and interactive displays cover human rights through the ages and up to current times with a uniquely Canadian lens. The building’s stunning architecture gives you space to reflect on what you learn. And the stories of triumph will leave you inspired.

The museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm every day except Mondays, and stays open to 9 pm on Wednesdays.

Before you book your trip, consider making room in your travel plans to spend three to six hours at the CMHR.

P.S. If you plan to stay at the Fort Garry Hotel, phone to get the special rate with our Group Code. The code doesn’t work for online reservations.

Our Conference Venue – the Iconic Fort Garry Hotel

The Fort Garry Hotel, from The Canadian Railway Hotel Revisited: The Château-style Hotels of Ross & McFarlane by David Rose

The Fort Garry Hotel was built over a hundred years ago in Canada’s era of grand railway hotels. This was a time when the railways were encouraging well-heeled tourists to travel transcontinentally.

The Fort Garry has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada, due to its Château-style architecture. This distinctly Canadian architectural type was the signature style for many of the railway hotels, as well as some important public buildings in Ottawa. (Learn more about the Château style and railway hotels.)

Inside, the hotel’s Old World elegance blends with contemporary comfort and style. Overall, it’s an iconic Canadian landmark hotel.

As the Fort Garry is our conference venue, conference attendees can stay for a very good rate. All you have to do is use the Group Code which you’ll find on the conference page of our website here.

Save the date

Historic Fort Garry Hotel, venue for the ISC/SCI conferenceWinnipeg, June 8 – 9, 2018

Fort Garry Hotel

Navigating the confluence of text and context

Get into the flow and join us in Winnipeg for our 2018 conference.

  • Discover the best tips and techniques for your indexing practice
  • Explore new insights and ideas for your business and career
  • Meet and mingle with colleagues old and new

Winnipeg is an extraordinary city situated on the Canadian Prairie at the crossroads of ancient North American canoe routes. Consider lingering a while to experience the rich multicultural heritage, the prairie landscape, and illuminating attractions such as the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (“the world’s only museum that explores human rights as a concept and aspiration”) and the Winnipeg Art Gallery (the largest collection of Inuit art in the world).

To help you plan your travel, here’s the schedule of activities:

  • Thursday, June 7: a pre-conference event
  • Friday, June 8: breakfast, sessions from 9 until 5, and banquet dinner at 6:30
  • Saturday, June 9: breakfast, sessions from 9 until 5, followed by a reception at the conference hotel
  •  Sunday, June 10: a possible workshop or other event, to be announced in January.

Watch the 2018 Conference Page for more details and announcements.

We hope to see you there!

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.