ASI Online Learning Course: Indexing Art Books

A three-part course with Theresa Duran. Presented on October 11, 18, and 25, 2023.

Art books represent a thriving segment of the publishing industry. They encompass a variety of book categories—from coffee-table books to exhibition catalogues to academic or technical studies—and an even greater array of subjects. What art books all have in common is an abundance of illustrations. The indexer must understand the conventions pertaining to specific types of artworks and the expectations that clients might have about the indexing of images.

This three-part course offers a comprehensive guide to the glorious world of art books. It begins with an overview of the field, then dives straight into the thicket of artist names, art titles, captions, and illustration locators. It wraps up with practical tips and strategies for avoiding clashes with clients, troubleshooting common problems (particularly index length restrictions), and finding work. Each session is filled with examples from actual art books. Additional examples and resources are included in the handout.

The course is designed to benefit both novice indexers who are interested in breaking into the field and experienced indexers who would like to hone their skills and gain confidence in their approach. Some of the tactics covered can be applied to books in other disciplines.

Course Overview

Session 1
Art Books: The Big Picture
  • My background in art publishing
  • Types of art books and their challenges
  • Types of art publishers and indexing clients
  • Q&A
Session 2
Artworks, Artists, and Locators
  • Common image organization schemes
  • A to Z of art captions
  • Illustration locators
  • Treatment of art titles
  • Treatment of artists
  • Q&A
Session 3
Projects: Getting Started, Troubleshooting, Finding Work
  • Questions to ask at the start of a project
  • Managing length restrictions
  • Setting rates and bidding on projects
  • Getting established in the field
  • Resources
  • Q&A

Please note: Attendance at the live sessions is not required. Registration entitles you to “on demand” access to the course and unlimited repeat viewings after the initial sessions have aired.

About our Presenter
Theresa Duran, PhD, is a former staff editor at a publishing house that specialized in art books, calendars, and other products for museum gift shops. She left that position in 2005 to become a full-time freelancer, offering indexing, copyediting, and proofreading services. In the past few years, Theresa has come to focus on the indexing of art books. A resident of Marin County, California, she is the current president of the American Society for Indexing (2023–24).

For more information and to register: ISC/SCI members have access to a discount code for this course in the Member Dashboard.

The Purple Pen Contest for New Indexers

The Institute of Certified Indexers (ICI) announces the opening of this year’s Purple Pen competition for newer indexers. The contest information and entry form for 2023 is on the website

This is the tenth year of the contest and it will be the final year. Entrants need to have completed indexing training from January 1, 2018 to June 1, 2023.

Contest submissions are being accepted from July 15 to September 15, 2023 (midnight Eastern Time Zone). All entrants will receive detailed feedback from the judges. The entry with the highest score will be deemed the winner, and its indexer will receive $100 in prize money and a one-hour Zoom session with the judges to discuss the index, indexing techniques, the business of indexing, etc.

The entry fee remains at $50 USD again this year.

The judging is done anonymously. Entries and questions should be sent to Connie Binder
Please see more detailed instructions on the ICI website

Conference Success in St. John’s, NL

Our June 9-10 conference in St. John’s was attended by 40 people from across Canada and US, England, Switzerland, and Australia. 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.

On Sunday, June 11, many attendees stayed around to attend a Live Indexing workshop given by Stephen Ullstrom, winner of multiple indexing awards, and author of Book Indexing: A Step-By-Step Guide.

For many people, a visit to Newfoundland is a rare treat. To make sure the attendees would get the most from their trip, two pre-conference tours were organized. On June 7, a group took a Bird the Rock tour to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve, home to more than four million breeding seabirds and North America’s largest colony of Atlantic Puffins. Then the next day, an even larger group took an Iceberg Quest tour through the St. John’s harbour out to Cape Spear, North America’s most eastern point.

Thank you to the conference committee headed by Alexandra Peace, with Lisa Fedorak, JoAnne Burek, Maura Blain Brown, Mercedes Brian, Maggie Billard, and Brittany Vesterback for your work in planning and organizing this successful event.

Thank you also to the Executive Committee of the ISC/SCI for setting aside conference scholarship funds for three new indexers.

Thank you, all of you wonderful businesses, for providing give-aways and door prizes.

  • Breakwater Books
  • Claire Wilkshire
  • Murray Premises Hotel
  • Riddle Fence magazine
  • Destination St. John’s

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 future conference committees. Look for a full conference report in the next issue of The Bulletin.

2023 Tamarack Award: Ronnie Seagren

The Indexing Society of Canada / Société canadienne d’indexation (ISC/SCI) is pleased to announce the 2023 recipient of the Tamarack Award. Ronnie Seagren (Toronto) is being recognized for her contribution and commitment to the society.

Ronnie was chosen for her unflagging dedication to the society, willingness to always lend a helping hand, and dedication to diversity and inclusion in indexing.

Ronnie’s colleagues had the following to say about her:

[Ronnie’s] warmth of spirit and optimism are infectious and make the society a better place for all.

Ronnie brings hard work and joy to so many committees inside (and outside!) ISC/SCI. It’s been a pleasure to work with her.

I’m so pleased [Ronnie was] chosen to be the recipient of this year’s Tamarack Award. It is truly a well-deserved award.

“We are thrilled to present this award to Ronnie, and we are honoured to have her as a member of our society,” said Alexandra Peace and Jolanta Komornicka, Co-Presidents. “Thank you, Ronnie, for all you have given to the society and its membership.”

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: