Jess Herdman | Indexer, Editor, and Designer


I am an indexer, editor, and designer specializing in scholarly publishing in the humanities and social sciences. I provide back-of-the-book and embedded indexes, and I can work from Word, InDesign, PDF, or LaTeX files. My experiences in both academia and publishing have provided me with an ideal basis for understanding clients’ indexing needs. I hold a PhD in cultural history (UC Berkeley, musicology, 2015) and have a wide range of interests­ that I would be excited to mobilize in support of your project. Over fifteen years of interdisciplinary research and teaching have given me a breadth of specialized knowledge bases, including:


• musicology

• ethnomusicology

• music theory

• history

• cultural history

• colonial history

• Indigenous studies

• postcolonial studies

• cultural studies

• anthropology

• peace and conflict studies

• women’s and gender studies


With substantial experience in design and production within academic, trade, and community-based publications, I am uniquely equipped to understand production deadlines. I was the co-editor of an Indigenous-led magazine, Red Rising, for five years, as well as the design, production, and administrative coordinator for an academic publisher with a trade imprint for two years. I aim to practice trauma-informed editing, indexing, and design and to mobilize conscious style and design justice principles—which means that I listen to your needs, work collaboratively on effective modifications, provide transparency about processes and input, and think critically about how your piece can activate language and layout that empowers.


• Indexing: An Essential Art and Science (SFU)

• Indexers Canada Membership (Member of the Executive, and of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee)

• Mary Newberry Indexers Canada Mentorship (with Mary Newberry)

• Indexers Canada Reading Group


On the heels of my career as a violinist (BMus, violin performance, University of Ottawa), I completed an MA in musicology/ethnomusicology at the University of British Columbia (2008), with a thesis that explored the relationships between narrative and practice in Cape Breton fiddling and dancing traditions. My subsequent PhD in cultural history was deeply interdisciplinary, with a dissertation that examined the affective musical economies that rallied communities to violence during the early modern Wars of Religion in France. I then had the opportunity to focus on the mutation of these musical modes into the colonial context through two postdocs that focused on Wendat matriarchs’ musical diplomacy in seventeenth-century Wendaké. This research was accompanied by heaps of teaching across disciplines, and a lot of work with community-based media. This grassroots work allowed me to segue from academia into scholarly publishing.

Currently, I work as a freelancer, as well as in editing and production roles with specialized academic publications, such as the bilingual Intersections: Canadian Journal of Music Research / Intersections : revue canadienne de musique and Canadian Journal of Music Therapy / Revue canadienne de musicothérapie.

  • Listing ID: 8994
  • Arts and Humanities: Archaeology and ancient history, Art and architecture, History, Language and linguistics, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Religion and spirituality, Media studies
  • Economy, politics and law: Economics, Government and politics
  • Health and medicine: Alternative health
  • Industry and technology: Agriculture, Communications
  • International studies: Canadian studies, Europe, United States
  • Lifestyle and Leisure: Fashion, Gardening, Crafts, Animals and pets, Interior design and decorating, Travel and tourism
  • Sciences: Ecology and environment
  • Society: Anthropology, Indigenous peoples, Culture, Education, Family, Gender studies, Senior studies, Child studies, Social activism, Sociology and social services, Urban studies
  • Materials - Books: Scholarly books, Trade monographs, Biographies and memoirs, Art and photography, Textbooks
  • Materials - Other: Academic papers and essays, Reports, Periodicals and almanacs
  • Other Skills: Embedded indexing, Editing, Proofreading, E-book creation, Book design, Research and fact-checking