Stephen Ullstrom


I am an experienced, award-winning indexer, and I enjoy tackling large, complicated books. I have a special interest and experience in East Asian studies and religious studies. I am also interested in Indigenous studies, political science, popular culture, history, and biographies/memoirs. 

I first encountered indexing in 2011 while working in-house for UBC Press and Harbour Publishing. I was captivated by the intellectual puzzle that each index presented, and began freelance indexing in 2012. I love to problem-solve unusual indexing challenges and write comprehensive and cohesive indexes that clearly reflect the text and are easy for readers to navigate. 

I write indexes for both scholarly and trade books, and work with both authors and publishers. My focus is on being easy to work with and on creating the best possible index for your book. 

I am also the author of Book Indexing: A Step-by-Step Guide (2023), a practical and accessible introduction to the art and craft of indexing. You can learn more about my book here. I also write a regular newsletter, Indexing Matters, about indexing and freelancing.

Additionally, I have won two awards for my work. In 2021, I won the Ewart-Daveluy Award, from the Indexing Society of Canada/Société canadienne d’indexation, for my index for The Shield of Psalmic Prayer: Translating, Interpreting, and Praying the Psalter, by Donald Sheehan (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2020). In 2014, I won the Purple Pen Award, from the Institute of Certified Indexers, for my index for Strange Visitors: Documents in the History of Indigenous and Settler Relations in Canada from 1876, edited by Keith D. Smith (University of Toronto Press, 2014).

I previously served for six years on the executive committee of the Indexing Society of Canada/Société canadienne d’indexation. I remain active in the society, and I also speak at indexing conferences and publish in the indexing journals The Indexer and Key Words.

I grew up in Taiwan, from about age two until my high school graduation. I then returned to Canada and earned a BA in political science and creative writing from the University of British Columbia. I lived and worked in and around Vancouver, BC, for several years, and currently make my home in Edmonton, Alberta.

I am happy to consider rush jobs, though I cannot guarantee my availability. I do not currently offer embedded indexing services.

I look forward to hearing from you about your book. 


“I am absolutely delighted with the indexing work Stephen did for my book. He produced an exceptionally comprehensive and thoughtful index which will greatly enhance the usefulness of the book for researchers. I can strongly recommend Stephen as a truly outstanding indexer.”

— Simon Avenell, Australian National University, author of Transnational Japan in the Global Environmental Movement (University of Hawai’i Press)


“If I were coming to the book for the first time and needed to unpack it in short order, using your index would be the way to do it. Nicely done.”

— Brian Clarke, Emmanuel College, co-author of Leaving Christianity: Changing Allegiances in Canada since 1945 (McGill-Queen’s University Press)

  • Listing ID: 1679
  • Arts and Humanities: History, Literature, Religion and spirituality
  • Economy, politics and law: Government and politics, Military and defense
  • International studies: Africa, Asia, Canadian studies, Europe, Developing countries, Australia and Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean, United States, International relations
  • Lifestyle and Leisure: Sports, fitness, and recreation, Travel and tourism, Personal development
  • Society: Anthropology, Indigenous peoples, Culture, Urban studies
  • Materials - Books: Scholarly books, Trade monographs, Biographies and memoirs, Art and photography, Children and young adult, Guidebooks, Textbooks, Manuals and how-to books, Encyclopedias, dictionaries, and glossaries
  • Materials - Other: Academic papers and essays, Government materials
  • Other Skills: Writing