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The Indexing Society of Canada / Société canadienne d’indexation (ISC/SCI) is Canada’s national association of indexers. We invite you to find an indexer for your project, read our publications, discover our conferences, events, and resources for indexers, find out about membership, and learn about the Society.


Find an indexer

Find an indexer in your subject area for your project.


Find resources

Find information about indexes, indexing practices, and training in indexing.

Attend an event

Visit an indexing get-together in your region or attend the annual conference.

Become a member

Join the Society and enjoy the benefits of membership.

Post Conference Workshop Announced

Indexing names sounds so easy.  But names indexing is so much broader than just people—it really encompasses all proper nouns and titles and places—and it requires lots of decision-making and judgment calls on the part of the indexer.  No matter what subject area you specialize in, you encounter these name-related issues.

You face the challenges of “foreign” or “ancient” cultures, the possibility of names changing over a lifetime, and countries with former names, present names, and official names.  You encounter royals, religious figures, fictional characters, and pseudonyms.

Authors introduce their own wrinkles into our jobs, creating confusion with multiple spellings, and setting up expectations that we don’t even know about in terms of what we should include and exclude from the index.

As our presenter Enid L. Zafran says, “There is so much to talk about in terms of indexing names that we need a whole day devoted to it.”

And that is why the ISC/SCI has chosen to offer a full-day post-conference workshop on “Names” conducted by Enid.  She will tell us short-cuts and strategies for entry methods, detail what to include in a entry like parenthetical glosses, how many postings to make per “name,” explain when a name is indexable, and discuss the sorting requirements.  Practical advice about dealing with clients and pricing the indexing are interspersed throughout.

To solidify your learning, the workshop includes two hands-on exercises where you’ll practice your new knowledge in expertly navigating names issues.

Please note that this is also the last event of Enid’s public-speaking career—she is hanging up her “presenter” hat, and you won’t want to miss out on this final chance to hear one of the most popular U.S. indexing experts. She has given talks at past ISC/SCI conferences as well as numerous chapter and national conferences in the United States.  Her books and articles have offered guidance to many of us for the past few decades.  We are honored that Enid has chosen to end this part of her career by coming to Ottawa and spending the day with us!

The ISC/SCI conference is in Ottawa on May 24 – 25, and the “Names” workshop will be held May 26. Registration for both will be on the conference page in a few weeks.

Library Archives Canada: a national, accessible treasure

Credit: Library Archives Canada

One thing that we love about indexing is the opportunity to read books that we might not discover on our own.

There is another other group that encounters interesting books on the job—the people at Library Archives Canada. This government organization is responsible for preserving Canada’s documentary heritage in all its mediums and formats.

“Preserved heritage” might conjure up the image of books and documents locked away in dark, dry vaults, accessible only with permission granted by secretive bureaucrats. It turns out that the vaults are real, but the access is generous and the “secrecy” is untrue.

In the spirit of the concept that heritage belongs to the people of Canada, LAC puts content online for the public. Besides providing searchable databases, they produce podcasts on the collections and accompany them with Flickr albums. They have a YouTube channel with archival videos and recordings. One initiative still going strong is “Project Naming”, in which they “digitize and identify, through Facebook and Twitter, the Inuit, First Nations and Métis peoples and communities seen in historical photos from our collection.”

Credit: Library Archives Canada

About the vaults, LAC offers a guided tour of their state-of-the-art Preservation Centre. It’s in Gatineau, Quebec, just across the river from downtown Ottawa, which is where we’re having our annual conference May 24-25. You can view the photos of the facility on their Flickr album here, and visit our conference page here.

A Gift to Yourself

In an interview, David Allen, the creator of “Getting Things Done”, described a Year End Review that will motivate and inspire you for the year ahead.

First, bring closure and acknowledgement for the past year. By yourself, or together with your partner, make a list of all your accomplishments. It’s likely you’ll find that your perspective has changed—which can be enlightening and satisfying. Also, ask yourself what has been left unfinished.

Second, take some time to clean a space in your house. David compares the effect to “discovering the fresh breeze that blows through your brain when you clean a drawer in your desk.” He adds, “Cleaning a space gives you a place to make those New Years ideas and new directions and new habits come from a much more natural and organic place.” Reserve a day, or even half a day, to clean and let the creativity flow.

When that is done, block some time and ask yourself, what do you want to be true next year? What does that look like? What do you want less of than last year, and what do you want more of?

Does your vision for 2019 include more socializing and networking? Professional development? Fun and adventure? A gift to yourself? Then write on the top of your list, “Book travel for ISC/SCI Conference in Ottawa, May 24-25”. You can visit the conference page here.

Conflicting Views

View of Tete Carre in Nice (not the Canadian War Museum)

Have you ever indexed a scholarly book with views that you disagree with? It would have felt good to ignore the offending paragraphs or put quotes around the headings you dislike. But you did the right thing and treated the material with same unbiased analysis that you gave to the rest of the book. The author has the right to his views, and you have the duty to index them.

It might be a comfort to know that your index exposes content that could be re-examined by future scholarship. As historian David Bercuson said, “No serious scholar…should be saved from the age-old processes of historical review, revision and re-writing to reflect more recent research when it is more accurate.”

The scholars Bercuson was referring to are authors as well as museum staff, and the topic was the exhibit on the Combined Offensive of World War II at the Canadian War Museum.

After the new building opened in 2005, war veterans complained loudly about a panel text which they believed portrayed the Allied bombing of German cities as “terror bombing and akin to war crime.” The museum stood by its words. The fight escalated with both sides bringing in historians to weight in. When the conflict was over, the museum director had been forced out and the panel text was revised, almost by committee.

Four years later, Bercuson, who was pressed into consulting on the exhibit, wrote about his experience and his evaluation of the text. It’s a fascinating look at how historians work and think about scholarship.

The Canadian War Museum is both a history museum and a place for reflection and contemplation. You can visit the museum when you come to Ottawa for the ISC/SCI Conference May 24-25, 2019.

Save the Date for ISC/SCI Conference in Ottawa

Ceremonial Guard Band on Parliament Hill
Ceremonial Guard Band on Parliament Hill (Ottawa Tourism)

Mark your calendar for the ISC/SCI annual conference on May 24-25, 2019, in Ottawa, Ontario.

The conference theme,“Beyond the Page—New Platforms, New Realities”/«Au-delà de la page—nouvelles plateformes, nouvelles réalités» recognizes that the publishing and information world continues to bring new challenges and new opportunities. At this conference, we’ll fine-tune our indexing practices, grow our business skills, offer our support and encouragement to newcomers, and pick the brains of those who have experience.

Ottawa is more than the political centre of Canada. It’s also home to some of the nation’s most important cultural venues. (Our conference site, which is on the University of Ottawa campus in the city’s centre, is just across the street from the new Ottawa Art Gallery.)

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

  • Thursday, May 23: a late afternoon or evening pre-conference event
  • Friday, May 24: Breakfast around 8, sessions from 9 until 5, followed by our banquet dinner
  • Saturday, May 25: Breakfast around 8, sessions from 9 until 5, followed by a post-conference event
  • Sunday, May 26: we’re leaving room for a possible workshop or other event

Watch the conference page for more details and announcement in the weeks to come.

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