Indexing Society of Canada congratulates winner of 2019 Purple Pen Competition

Photo of Vivian UngerToronto: The Indexing Society of Canada / Société canadienne d’indexation (ISC/SCI) is proud to recognize one of its members, Vivian Unger, for winning the 2019 Purple Pen Competition.

“This is such a wonderful accomplishment for Vivian, and on behalf of the Indexing Society of Canada, I offer my wholehearted congratulations,” said Alexandra Peace, President of ISC/SCI. “This award is a testament to Vivian’s great work, and a validation of the value that a professional indexer brings to each book. I encourage all ISC members to consider entering future competitions.”

The Institute of Certified Indexers issued the following announcement of Vivian’s accomplishment:

“Vivian Unger, of New Brunswick and a member of the Indexing Society of Canada, has won the 2019 Purple Pen Competition sponsored by the Institute of Certified Indexers. Her index appears in the book Too Dumb for Democracy?: Why We Make Bad Political Decisions and How We Can Make Better Ones by David Moscrop (published in March 2019 by Goose Lane Editions). She wrote a 10-page index for this 240-page political commentary, and the judges found her work to capture the author’s main themes and show a good web of terminology including many helpful cross-references and buzzwords from the field and author’s text.

The author, David Moscrop, wrote, “A book’s index is essential. A good index can make the difference between a volume being useful for accessing or sharing knowledge and being a frustrating experience of searching for your keys in the dark. Vivian’s index of Too Dumb for Democracy? is excellent. She broke down a complex subject into its essential parts and helped make the book accessible and, above all, useful.”

The production editor, Alan Shepherd of Goose Lane Editions, commented, “I’m thrilled for Vivian and hope that this award will allow her to grow her career and client base. The Press was delighted with the index that she produced for our book, Too Dumb for Democracy? Vivian’s index covers both people and events as well as abstract concepts and technical political language. She was able to quickly absorb and synthesize the ideas in the book and delivered a sterling index right on schedule.”

Vivian, who holds a B.A. from McGill University (major: CompSci, minor: Classics), completed the University of California, Berkeley, course “Indexing: Theory and Application” in 2017. She is the fourth Canadian to win the Purple Pen competition in its six-year history. Former winners include Stephen Ullstom (2014), Frances Curry (2015), and Sergey Lobachev (2017).

Vivian says that she landed her first professional indexing project in early 2018, a scholarly work on Cubist and Futurist art. Since then, she has indexed feminist history and biography. She hopes to index more political books in the future and to expand into the fields of science and technology. She serves on the national council of Fair Vote Canada, an organization that advocates for replacing Canada’s current voting system with a proportional representation system. She wrote, “Juggling the demands of electoral reform activism and an indexing career can be challenging. However, I believe this interest makes me well suited to work in the field of political science. I was therefore happy for the opportunity to index David Moscrop’s book Too Dumb for Democracy?”

All entrants receive a detailed feedback scoresheet that combines the comments from three judges. The judging is done anonymously by members of the Institute of Certified Indexers (ICI).  The winner receives a check for $100 USD as well as the publicity of appearing on the ICI website: www.certifiedindexers.com and notification to the book’s publisher and author. This honor also helps the new indexer in terms of building confidence and gaining career satisfaction. The members of ICI all endorse this as a successful way to mentor new indexers who benefit from a detailed review of their work. New indexers should watch for the announcement of the 2020 competition in late spring/early summer 2020.”

The Indexing Society of Canada | Société canadienne d’indexation (ISC/SCI) is Canada’s professional society of indexers. Our mission is to encourage the production and use of indexes, promote the recognition of indexers, improve indexing techniques, and foster communication among individual indexers across Canada. Our vision is “Accessible information; informed people.” Learn more at indexers.ca.

2019 Ewart-Daveluy Indexing Award: Your Name Here

We know there were some terrific indexes written in 2018 by you. But only one of you submitted one for the Ewart-Daveluy Indexing Award. That’s just too few. Where were the rest of you? How can we encourage you to submit your hard work in 2020? (Maybe even that index from 2018?)

The application has never been easier. It’s all online. You don’t need a hard copy — a PDF of the book with the index is enough. The cost is only $30. And did you know that we provide feedback for up to three runners-up? That’s feedback from three experienced indexers.

We are looking for print book indexes that creatively overcome challenges, resulting in an outstanding, well-structured, easy-to-navigate, clear and comprehensive guide for all of its users. There’s no restriction to the subject matter or genre — textbooks, cookbooks, guidebooks, memoirs, art books, how-to books, travel books, all books — it’s your index we will be looking at.

“Oh, but,” you say, “I’m too new!” Nonetheless, you suspect that the index you wrote for that odd little guide to breaking up with your phone was really effective. Or you’re pretty sure you did a big favour to people looking for answers to their ailments by the way you exposed the hidden gems in that dense book about digestion. Or you amazed yourself with managing to build a clear guide to too many pages in the limited space allotted by the press.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Maybe you’ll get the prize (which won’t happen if you don’t apply). And if not, you’re very likely to get expert confidential feedback. That’s worth a lot.

Because we think there are indexes out there that we should have seen, for 2020, we are opening the submissions up to books published in 2018 and 2019 — a second chance to submit that index that you seriously considered, but didn’t quite have the time or courage to follow through. If you are a Canadian indexer or a Canadian resident, 2020 is the time to do it.

Watch for more information about the 2020 award deadline to come.

New Executive for 2019-2020

The new ISC/SCI Executive for 2019-2020 was voted in at this spring’s conference in Ottawa.

As of June 2019, the new President is Alexandra Peace and the new Vice-President is Pierre Joyal. They will be holding these positions until June 2021.

Check out the full Executive Committee list. If you have questions about the work of the ISC/SCI, feel free to contact your Regional Representative, or any member of the Executive.

2019 Tamarack Award: Stephen Ullstrom

The Tamarack Award was instituted to recognize members who go “above and beyond the call of duty” in their volunteer work for the Society. According to ISC president Alexandra Peace and past president Margaret de Boer, it was an easy decision to recognize the 2019 recipient, Stephen Ullstrom.

Stephen, who lives in Edmonton, was chosen because of his dedication and valuable input on the executive committee and for his commitment as the Prairies and Northern Canada regional representative for the past two years and agreeing to remain as the representative for an additional period. He is also being recognized for his strong vision of a mentorship program for the Society and for bringing it to fruition.

“We are thrilled to present this award to Stephen, and we are honoured to have him as a member of our society,” said Alexandra and Margaret. “Thank you, Stephen, for all you have given to the Society and its membership.” And here’s what some of Stephen’s colleagues on the executive had to say:

Pierre Joyal, Vice-President: “Stephen was the driving force behind the mentorship program. He was its initial sponsor, the originator of the concept and saw it to fruition. It would not have happened without his commitment and dedication, his work efforts, and determination to seeing it through. We are grateful for the work he accomplished and congratulate him on a well-deserved award.”

JoAnne Burek, Website Administrator: “As the regional representative for the Prairies and Northern Canada, Stephen genuinely cares about the well-being of his colleagues. He ensures that every few months they get together for conversation about business, indexing, work/life balance—whatever they want to talk about—even though they are spread across three provinces and into the States.”

Linda Christian, Mentorship Program co-coordinator: “I’ve been working with Stephen for the past year and have found that he has many, many good qualities. He is conscientious, reliable, responsible, thoughtful, and intelligent. He’s also very careful. He doesn’t allow any mentorship material to go out ‘slapdash’; it has to be right … Stephen is self-contained, measured in his communications and soft-spoken. For lack of a better way of putting it, he’s a nice guy … The Indexing Society of Canada is lucky to have him.”

Congratulations to Stephen on his accomplishments and for this special recognition.

Past recipients of the Tamarack Award and other ISC awards can be found on the awards page.

2019 Tamarack Award recipient Stephen Ullstrom

Stephen Ullstrom (second from left) receives the 2019 Tamarack Award from members of the ISC Executive.

Photo credit: JoAnne Burek

Indexing Society of Canada announces 2019 Tamarack Award recipient

Toronto: The Indexing Society of Canada / Société canadienne d’indexation (ISC/SCI) is pleased to announce the 2019 recipient of the Tamarack Award. Stephen Ullstrom (Edmonton) is being recognized for his contribution and commitment to the society.

Stephen was chosen due to his dedication and valuable input on the executive committee, and for his commitment as the Prairies and Northern Canada regional representative for the past two years and to remain as a representative for additional time.

“We are thrilled to present this award to Stephen, and we are honoured to have him as a member of our society,” said Alexandra Peace, President and Margaret de Boer, Past-President. “Thank you, Stephen, for all you have given to the society and its membership.”

Stephen is also being commended for his strong vision for a mentorship program for the society and for bringing it to fruition.

“Stephen was the driving force behind the mentorship program,” said Pierre Joyal, Vice-President. “He was its initial sponsor, the originator of the concept and saw it to fruition. It would not have happened without his commitment and dedication, his work efforts and determination to seeing it through. We are grateful for the work he accomplished and congratulate him on a well-deserved award.”

The Tamarack Award was instituted to recognize members who go “above and beyond the call of duty” in their volunteer work for the Society. Past recipients can be found on the website here: https://indexers.ca/isc-awards/

The Indexing Society of Canada | Société canadienne d’indexation (ISC/SCI) is Canada’s professional society of indexers. Our mission is to encourage the production and use of indexes, promote the recognition of indexers, improve indexing techniques, and foster communication among individual indexers across Canada. Our vision is “Accessible information; informed people.” Learn more at indexers.ca.

Indexing Society of Canada announces new Executive for 2019–2021

Toronto: The Indexing Society of Canada / Société canadienne d’indexation (ISC/SCI) is pleased to announce that, as of June 2019, the new President is Alexandra Peace and the new Vice-President is Pierre Joyal.

They will be holding these positions until June 2021.

For general information pertaining to the society, please contact either Alexandra or Pierre at presidents@indexers.ca.

For other communications needs, please contact Maria Hypponen at communications@indexers.ca.

The full Executive Committee list can be found on the ISC/SCI website here: https://indexers.ca/contact-us/executive/

Our mailing address is:

  • Indexing Society of Canada / Société canadienne d’indexation (ISC/SCI)
  • 133 Major Street
  • Toronto, ON  M5S 2K9

The Indexing Society of Canada | Société canadienne d’indexation (ISC/SCI) is Canada’s professional society of indexers. Our mission is to encourage the production and use of indexes, promote the recognition of indexers, improve indexing techniques, and foster communication among individual indexers across Canada. Our vision is “Accessible information; informed people.” Learn more at indexers.ca.

Another Successful Conference

Our May 27-28 conference in Ottawa was attended by 66 people from across Canada and parts of the US. We met old friends and made new ones as we laughed, learned, and shared experiences and encouragement. You can find more photos in our conference album on Flickr.

Several speakers made their handouts available to our members. If you’re an ISC/SCI member, log in and find the handouts here. If you’re not a member but attended the conference, visit this page and use the conference password.

Thank you to the conference committee headed by Heather Ebbs, with Alicia Peres, Barb Cuerden, Frances Curry, JoAnne Burek, and Nancy Wills, for all your work in planning and organizing this successful event.

Thank you, all you wonderful donors, for providing door prizes. Your contributions helped make the conference fun.

Beth Macfie
Clive Pyne
Heather Ebbs
Margaret de Boer
Ruth Pincoe

Thanks also to the Lord Elgin Hotel and the University of Ottawa residence.

Thank you, attendees, for your enthusiasm and participation. And an extra-big thank you if you filled out the conference survey. Your input and comments will be of enormous help to next year’s conference committee.

And speaking of next year’s conference, we’re headed to St. Johns, Newfoundland! The dates are June 12-13, 2020, so start thinking about your plans now.

DReam to Index Scholarships

In 2018, the Friends of Dave established a fund to honor David K. Ream who passed away at the end of 2017. Dave, who was well known throughout the indexing communities of the world, provided computer-programming, database construction, and typesetting to indexers and abstractors for more than 30 years. Dave gave so much to the field of indexing and was especially interested in helping indexers succeed in their work. That is why we have chosen to honor him by recognizing new people coming to the field and helping them on their indexing journey.

The scholarships enable newer indexers to attend a national indexing conference. In 2019, each winner receives $500 USD toward the expense of her conference registration and travel.

We are pleased to announce the two winners for the 2019 DReam to Index Scholarships:

Siusan Moffat

AElfwine Mischler

Both Siusan and AElfwine took the UC Berkeley Course for introductory indexing training. They have registered to attend the Ottawa Conference of the Indexing Society of Canada (ISC).

Siusan lives in Toronto, Canada, and AElfwine lives in Cairo, Egypt.

We look forward to their ongoing growth as indexers!

In 2020, the DReam to Index scholarships will be offered again using the same criteria – for more information, about Dave Ream and the scholarships please see www.dreamtoindex.com.

Great Intentions

In Cal Newport’s latest book, “Digital Minimalism”, he describes how the Amish use technology intentionally.

When a new technology arises, the whole community closely observes a first adopter and tries “to discern the ultimate impact of the technology on the things the community values most. If this impact is deemed more negative than helpful, the technology is prohibited. Otherwise, it’s allowed, but usually with caveats on its use that optimize its positives and minimize its negatives.”

Over thirty years ago, indexers were adopting a new technology when we switched from index cards to indexing software. No doubt at the time there were positives and negatives to be thought through.

Looking back now, and especially for indexers who started after the age of cards, it’s hard to imagine there were negatives.

But are we optimizing the positives?

Learn some new tips and habits at the ISC/SCI Conference in Ottawa May 24-25, when Gale Rhoades (Macrex) and Maria Sullivan (Cindex) give you their best advice to help you optimize your use of your indexing software.

Visit the conference page here.

Bursary for Structurally Disadvantaged People

We were able to secure funding from the Special Projects committee for our very first bursary!

The Bursary for Structurally Disadvantaged People is for one person, and it will cover fees for an indexing course, two years of ISC membership with listing, and entry into the Mentorship program.

The Inclusivity, Diversity and Equity committee (TIDE) is a very small committee and we will be needing more people to join in to help develop and organize the bursary. Please get in touch to help out! siusanmoffat (at.) gmail (dot) com