A precious resource


clockTime is a non-renewable resource. Thus we were reminded by Christine LeBlanc when she led a recent Editors Canada webinar on starting a freelance career. She strongly encouraged word workers to feel confident in what we charge because of the time we put into doing our work well.

Her statement also reminds us—freelance or not—of occasions when that precious resource feels badly spent. An hour embroiled in solving a tech problem when you’re on an indexing deadline feels so different from an hour spent catching up with a dear friend, playing with a child, or reading a good book!

Wouldn’t it be nice to spend an hour with an indexing tech expert in a non-stressful—even pleasantly collegial—environment to save some stress and time down the road?

Bring your questions to the ISC/SCI 2018 conference in Winnipeg and spend some time with indexing software experts Kamm Schreiner (SKY), Gale Rhoades (MACREX), and Frances Lennie (CINDEX) who know these powerful programs better than anyone. They’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Speaking of time, the conference is June 8-9—less than a month away. We hope you can make it.

Exploring usability

Index written by a technical indexer
Fig 2: Technical indexer
Index written by a scholarly index
Fig 1: Scholarly indexer

Two questions:

1. Has becoming an indexer changed the way you use indexes?

2. Assume you mostly indexed technical books. Would that influence the way you index scholarly books?

These are just two questions you might ponder if you read “Testing usability: ‘Experience an index usability test’ at the ASI Conference (Portland, 2009)” by Cheryl Landes. This article appeared in the December 2009 issue of The Indexer.

At the ASI conference, Cheryl led a session in which 14 attendees reviewed and looked up entries in two indexes that were written for a single book of essays. One of the indexes was written by a scholarly indexer, the other by a technical indexer. The usability test results were interesting, but even more so were the reviewers’ comments.

Cheryl received a regional Award of Excellence from the Society for Technical Communications for this article.

You will enjoy hearing about Cheryl’s latest insights on index usability when you come to the conference in Winnipeg on June 8-9.

Patterns of indexing careers

wheel of fortune

Indexers cwheel of fortuneome into their careers from many directions. For some, it’s a natural progression from a job in a publishing house. Others discover the calling accidentally. There are indexers who started out by volunteering to write an index for a friend or a local society.

Once the decision is made to become an indexer, the career launch is more or less predictable: training, followed by practice, then marketing and building up a list of active clients.

Throughout your career, it’s all on you. You will become so good at your work that your clients won’t want you to stop.

So how does an indexer move into retirement gently? Join us for the ISC/SCI conference in Winnipeg June 8-9 as Heather Ebbs shares her thoughts and wisdom on what it means to glide away from a successful career.

The scent of information

Have you heard of a rule in web design called the three-click rule? It states that users will leave your web page or app if they can’t find what they want in three clicks. However, the rule has been challenged by numerous studies. It turns out that users don’t actually stop searching after three clicks, as long as the navigation is easy and there is a constant “scent of information.”

Users of on-line Hansard databases have no choice but to keep clicking when they’re searching for something that was said in parliament. They can’t just throw up their arms in frustration and look somewhere else—because there is no other source of information.

Hansard team members Julie McClung and Michael Sinclair will show us how they keep users happy at the BC Government when they present “Digital Innovation and Parliamentary Indexing” at the ISC/SCI conference in Winnipeg June 8-9.

If you still haven’t registered, you can still get the Early Bird Pricing until end of day Friday.

ISC/SCI Unveils 2018 Conference Program | Early Bird Pricing Closes Soon

Pileated woodpecker

Pileated woodpeckerThe complete program of speakers and sessions for the 2018 conference in Winnipeg is now available on this website.

View and download the details on two phenomenal days of sessions plus the Thursday evening pre-conference event and the Sunday morning workshop.

Last week, we announced the Sunday morning workshop. You can register for this event here.

As a reminder, the Early Bird Pricing ends April 27. Receive your discounted price by registering for the conference today.

Post-Conference Sunday: Embedded indexing

The client wants an index for a printed book and an eBook. You’ve heard about embedding indexes, but you haven’t attempted one yourself. The client won’t pay you to learn on the job. So, do you bid or not?

If fear and uncertainty is holding you back from bidding on these projects, then you’ll want to attend the post-conference Sunday morning workshop “Indexing for Multiple Outputs” presented by Cheryl Landes.

Cheryl will talk about the differences between embedded and traditional back of the book indexing and how to tag content for multiple outputs. You’ll take away strategies for planning the index, working with the publisher (they all have their unique ways), and tagging entries to make the publisher happy. And of course there will be live demos and practice exercises.

It all happens on Sunday, June 10 in Winnipeg in the Fort Garry Hotel.

Learn more about the workshop or go register now on Eventbrite.

New ideas where you weren’t looking

fresh fish I tell my writer friends that a good way to find new ideas is to read a scholarly book that’s not quite in their field.

As an indexer of such books, I’ve been surprised to find new insights several times. For instance, in Collaborative Consultation in Mental Health, I learned about a proven process for mentoring. In Food Sovereignty, Agroecology, and Biocultural Diversity, I read a riveting story about a company that was struggling with cultural differences.

In a scholarly book that you wouldn’t normally choose to read, there are gems of knowledge that you would never know were there. And only an indexer would know that.

Mary Newberry and Judy Dunlop have been joyfully indexing scholarly books for years. Join us as they share their experiences in a joint presentation in Winnipeg, June 8 and 9.

JoAnne Burek