How Charles Cutter spent his winter vacation

Posted on: February 19th, 2017 by JoAnne Burek

In 1858, Charles A. Cutter was a student librarian at the Harvard Divinity School, struggling to keep the four old folio volumes of the manuscript catalog up to date. Then the school acquired a 4,000 volume collection from Professor Frederich Lücke at the University of Göttingen. To continue with the existing manuscript catalog would be impossible.

Cutter and a classmate, Charles Noyes, worked the winter vacation recataloguing the entire collection of 12,000 books. But instead of writing a new manuscript catalog, they took down the book information on slips. As he set out to arrange the slips, Cutter was facing cataloguing principles for the first time. Nevertheless, by the time he graduated in July, the whole collection was complete and integrated—in the catalogue and on the shelves.

Cutter went on to a distinguished career as head librarian at the Boston Aethenaeum Library and eventually as consultant to the United States Bureau of Education. He was driven to helping libraries everywhere bring order out of chaos. In 1880, he introduced a novel system he called the Cutter Expansive Classification, which laid the foundation for the Library of Congress Subject Headings.

His book, “Rules for a Dictionary Catalog” can be viewed here at the University of North Texas Library.

You’ll hear more about Cutter and others when Alan Walker presents “Seven types of specificity: the history of alphabetico-specific indexing” at the conference in Montreal June 2-3.

The Joy of Cooking

Posted on: February 13th, 2017 by JoAnne Burek

I love to cook. So naturally, my dream project would be to write the index for an edition of a legendary cookbook, such as…oh, let’s say The Joy of Cooking.

According to an article in The Indexer (April 2007), by Deborah Patton, who was citing a book called Standing Facing the Stove (Anne Mendelson), almost every edition of The Joy of Cooking was fraught with problems.

“For instance, the 1951 edition had an ‘ongoing index-revision squabble’ that lasted well into 1952. The index to the 1962 edition was a typographical disaster, with misspellings, lost indents, and tiny type.”

Then she comes to the 1975 version:
“[It] has a page-long  preface to provide guidance on finding anything either in the index or in the book. The writers must have known their explanation did not help much, because it ends with: ‘Meanwhile, happy hunting.’”

Are you interested in writing cookbook indexes that you can be proud of? Then you’ll want to attend Gillian Watt’s session at the conference in Montreal on June 2-3.

Conference Venue Confirmed

Posted on: January 29th, 2017 by JoAnne Burek

The ISC Conference Committee is thrilled to announce that the conference will be held in the Novotel hotel in the centre of Montreal. Recently renovated, it’s a gem of a hotel.
Located on Rue de la Montagne, the hotel is easy walking distance to the shops on Ste-Catherine street (Ogilvy Store & Holt Renfrew), the bars and restaurants on Crescent Street, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
You can check it out here.

A fresh look at your 2017 goals

Posted on: January 16th, 2017 by JoAnne Burek

Some questions to ask yourself as you make your plans this year:

How can you get the type of indexing projects you love most coming to you? What if you carved out a niche, by building up your expertise in a subject area or a skill?

If you are a full time freelancer, how are you going to maintain or grow your pool of clients?
Besides your “Find an Indexer” profile, your website, and LinkedIn, what else can you do to market yourself this year?

Are you going to read more widely than before? Explore books and materials that you wouldn’t normally look at?

Is this the year that you get more balance in your life? Work shorter days and take more breaks with minimal reduction in income?

Are you going to work smarter than last year? Learn what other indexers are doing and adopt some shortcuts and time savers into your own practice?

I’m wishing you all the greatest success in 2017.

And if you want to cover huge ground on all these points, put the 2017 Conference into your plan. It will be June 2-3 in Montreal.

The Affiliation

Posted on: January 15th, 2017 by JoAnne Burek

The Indexing Society of Canada/Société canadienne d’indexation got its start in 1977. It arose out of an Open Forum at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Library Association on June 12 of that year, in Montreal.

The Society of Indexers (SI) in the UK, the American Society of Indexers, and the Australian Society of Indexers had already been formed. An affiliation was in place to strengthen their efforts towards the advancement of indexing.

When the SI held its first international conference in 1978, Canadian indexers Peter Grieg and Mary Dykstra attended and discussed with SI officers the affiliation of IASC (as we were then called). The terms were agreed and the affiliation was formalized in 1979.

The secretary of the SI commented on the 1978 conference: “It was Canada’s bilingualism, reinforced by the influence of a strong contingent of delegates from France, that stimulated consideration—for the first time—of the possibility of moving out of the English-speaking limitations within which we have hitherto operated. Even before the formalities of affiliation are completed, the youngest member of the family is already making its influence felt.”

One of the benefits of being in the family is that we can attend each other society’s conferences as though we are members. At every conference, we have visitors from Australia/New Zealand, Europe, United Kingdom, and United States, and sometimes also China and Africa.

This year will be no different. Be sure to introduce and welcome our visiting members when you come to this year’s conference in Montreal, June 2-3.

The perfect accounting world is perfect for clients

Posted on: January 7th, 2017 by JoAnne Burek

One of the challenges faced by new freelance indexers is setting up the business to handle cash flows and deal with taxes. This is especially true for former “employees” who only ever had to collect paycheques.

If that’s you, you’ll be interested in this article in the Bulletin of Winter 2002. Jean Sinclair gave us straightforward advice on registering your business, managing day to day tasks, keeping books, and getting through the tax season.

You can read the article here

And you can get more help with your business questions when you come to this year’s conference on June 2-3 in Montreal.