Indexing in the Scholarly Niche

Of the all the book titles published in Canada, scholarly books make up less than 3% (Statistics Canada, 2016). For indexers, however, scholarly publishing is a significant category and can be an important source of work. But, as many indexers know, the niche has its challenges.

Enid Zafran calls scholarly indexing “one of the most ‘brain-challenging’ types of work for indexers. Authors can wander, repeat, and be obscure as they write for others in their subject specialty.” Join us at ISC/SCI Conference on May 24-25 in Ottawa, as Enid presents “Scholarly Indexing of Books: Go Deep”. In this presentation, Enid will discuss how to approach these works, the importance of author relations, and the future of the scholarly niche.

By the way, Enid’s Sunday workshop on indexing names is now filled. However, you can add yourself to the wait list when you register for the conference.

Construction plans

Writing an index can be like building a magnificent backyard storage shed one brick at a time, with no blueprint and no idea of what the finished product will look like.

Initially, the work proceeds cautiously and slowly; many decisions are made by feeling. Enthusiasm turns to discomfort as the growing structure begins to look awkward and messy. We push through it. As we approach the final chapters, the layout becomes apparent, and the speed picks up as we reach the end of the book. Or, perhaps nothing is clear until we step back and edit the whole thing.

Is there a better way? Fred Leise, renowned indexer and Berkeley course instructor, points out that indexers are often advised to “mirror the structure of the text” but we are not told how to do that. Fred will show us how at the ISC/SCI conference in Ottawa May 24-25.

Behind the screen look at decolonization of terms

Last December, one of the topics that came up on the ISC-L list was the need to decolonize terms in the library classification system. In the ensuing thread, we heard that work was underway, driven mainly by the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA-FACLA).

So, what is this work? Following up on the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the CFLA-FACLA formed a Truth and Reconciliation Committee to advance the Calls to Actions. In 2017, the Committee delivered an 87-page report. The report presents 10 over-arching recommendations and many detailed recommendations along four tracks, designed to help libraries in their efforts to advance reconciliation.

Work is indeed underway. We are thrilled to have the Chair of the Committee, Camille Callison, join us at the conference on Ottawa May 24-25. Camille will be accompanied by Katherine Kasirer, Senior Librarian at the National Film Board. They will give a joint keynote presentation on a special decolonization project: “A Behind-the-Screen Look at the Indigenous Knowledge Materials Classification Schema (IMCS) Implementation during the Creation of NFB’s Indigenous Cinema”.

You can register for the conference here.

DReam to Index Scholarship

DReam to Index Scholarship

Are you a new indexer? Would you like to network with experienced indexers and gain professional development at an indexing conference of your choice? If you have completed an indexing course or formal index training since 2014 you can apply for the DReam to Index Scholarship!

You do not need to show registration at the time of application for the scholarship. If you are chosen to receive the scholarship you can then register for the conference of your choice, and after you prove your paid registration you will receive your stipend check.

In memory of David K. Ream, The Friends of Dave Ream formed to offer scholarship aid for new indexers to register for indexing conferences. For 2019, the scholarship will fund two winners $500 USD each. Eligible national conferences include: the American Society for Indexing, Society of Indexers, Indexing Society of Canada, Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers, or Association of South African Indexers and Bibliographers.  Applicants can live in any country.

For details, visit http://dreamtoindex.com/. Cut-off date for 2019 applications is April 1, 2019. Recipients will be notified by April 3, 2019.

Special Projects has been busy and we’re ready for more

The ISC/SCI has, over the years, accumulated surplus funds. Some of these funds will be kept aside as a reserve in case of deficit. That still leaves some extra funds that we can spend.

The Special Projects Committee was formed in 2017 to assess projects for ISC/SCI to spend money on. The committee sent out a request for proposals and received several interesting ideas and comments that were gratefully received.

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Parliamentary information

House of Commons
Credit: Makaristos on Wikipedia

The House of Commons, Canada’s lower house of Parliament, is steeped in tradition. But progress carries on. When television cameras were installed in the 1970s, news coverage was changed forever, and arguably so were debating styles and citizens’ impressions of politicians.

Now renovations on the House of Commons original workplace have begun. When Centre Block reopens after 10 years, every aspect of the building and its systems will have been upgraded. Who can guess at the impact of these changes?

A recent change that has had a deep impact is the development of the House of Commons’ integrated system to record, publish, and manage parliamentary information. In our conference in Ottawa May 24-25, Alexandre Grandmaître and Martine Rocheleau from the House of Commons will explore how this technological change has turned indexing into information management, how business processes were adapted accordingly, and what challenges they face going forward.

An elegant niche

Example of Index Locorum
A page from “Substantial Knowledge: Aristotle’s Metaphysics” (Reeve)

Ever since Kate Mertes offered to talk about “indexing locora” at the ISC/SCI conference, we’ve been curious.

“Index locorum” literally means index of places. Other indexes with Latin names include index rerum (subjects), index nominum (names), and index verborum (words). It’s unlikely that you’ll see a book with any index named so elegantly, except for the index locorum…which is not an index of places in the everyday sense.

So, we wondered, what does an index locorum look like? We found one in Substantial Knowledge: Aristotle’s Metaphysics by C.D.C. Reeve. You’ll see it in the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon.com. This book has 300 pages of text, a 9 page Index Locorum and a 3 page General Index.

Kate says there is a growing demand for these types of indexes, but they are finicky. Learn how to work in this elegant-sounding niche at the conference on May 24-25 in Ottawa.