Patterns of indexing careers

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.

Doing the right thing by the author and the reader

Over the last week, we’ve had a riveting discussion on the ISC-L forum.

It started because a Canadian indexer was indexing a book on racism in the US, and had asked an American indexer for advice on approaching the language. For the benefit of ISC-L forum readers, the American indexer posted the very useful guidance that she gave to the Canadian indexer.

That post started a flood of comments about our struggles in indexing books that deal with difficult issues.

We really want to do the right thing by the author and the reader.

As indexer Alicia Peres put it very eloquently:

As indexers, we are acutely aware that our work comes at the end of the publication process, and we must deal with the text as it has been written. Yet, in dealing with the terms readers are likely to look for, we are not without influence, both in educating readers through terminology and in how we select and word index listings.

Alicia wrote these words not for the forum, but in her invitation to Gregory Younging, a Member of Opsakwayak Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba, the Indigenous Studies Program Coordinator at University of British Columbia Okanagan, and author of “Elements of Indigenous Style.”

And that is how she convinced Dr. Younging to come to Winnipeg to speak at our conference.

Learn first-hand from an author who has thought deeply about language when you come to the ISC/SCI conference on June 8-9.

Three Indexing Courses

Three indexing courses are being taught by ISC/SCI members:

  • Indexing: Theory and Application (University of California at Berkeley Extension – taught by Heather Ebbs, an ISC/SCI past president, as well as U.S. indexers Sylvia Coates and Fred Leise and Australian indexer Max McMaster)
  • Indexing for Books, Journals, and Reports (Ryerson University – taught by Mary Newberry, past ISC/SCI co-president)
  • Indexing: An Essential Art and Science (Simon Fraser University – taught by Audrey McClellan and Iva Cheung)

These courses represent excellent opportunities to learn from experienced members of the Society. For more information on these and other indexing courses, seminars, and workshops, please go to the Education and Training section of the Resources page.

Charging for Indexing Services

“How much?”

It’s one of the first questions from clients and new indexers. But as with almost any fee for service, there is no hard and fast answer.

In a survey done by ISC/SCI in spring 2008, members were asked what they charge, and how, and the answers varied widely (see Bulletin, Vol. 30, No 3 [Summer 2008], p. 28-32), with hourly rates ranging from $20 to $65, typeset page rates ranging from $1.85 to $10 and manuscript page rates ranging from $3 to $8.

[…]Charging for Indexing Services