Conference 2017 :: Congrès 2017 – Montréal, QC

Reflect, refresh, and celebrate 40 years of indexing

We came to Montreal to learn from the experts, meet and chat with colleagues, and celebrate our 40th year—our Ruby Anniversary!

Considérez de nouvelles approches, renouvelez vos énergies et célébrez les 40 ans de la Société d’indexation

Nous sommes venir à Montréal pour apprendre des experts dans votre domaine, rencontrer vos collègues et célébrer le 40e anniversaire de la société.


St. André, Louise, Margaret de Boer, Mary Newberry, Anna Olivier, Alexandra Peace, and François Trahan

Keynote and Panel Discussion: Case Study of a Bilingual, Multi-volume Team-based Indexing Project

Description: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) has produced a comprehensive record on the Indian Residential Schools system and a 6-volume bilingual report with recommendations to Government concerning the system and its legacy. A team of 6 indexers, working from coast to coast, were recruited to produce a pdf index for each volume, to be accessible online, in French and English. The challenges were multiple: communication, decision making about consistency and name forms to be used, ethical considerations about what to include or not, etc. This presentation will examine the process and share lessons learned.


Louise Saint-André is a French-language indexer, editor and trainer, who joined ISC/SCI in 2005. While a significant portion of her work pertains to health care, she has, over the years, collaborated on a number of bilingual history books with English-language editors and indexers.

Margaret de Boer is a freelance indexer from Toronto. Twenty years in broadcasting and newspaper indexing offers useful background for the political science manuscripts that she  indexes now. She currently serves on the ISC/SCI executive as president. This isn’t her first foray into team indexing and she’s excited to work with another amazing group of indexers!  Margaret was honoured to work on these important volumes.

François Trahan has been an indexer and ISC/SCI member since 2007. Recipient of the 2015 Ewart-Daveluy Indexing Award, he has a great interest in topics related to Indigenous peoples, especially on the Pacific northwest coast.

Anna Olivier is a freelance French editor since 2005 and indexer since 2009. She studied philosophy and geography in France and wrote her PhD in Czech Republic. She lives now in Quebec City. She works for academic publishers and journals, in humanities, social sciences and health. Her dream is to publish books about Quebec landscapes, memories and geography and to play piano. Indexing some TRC volumes was a great, exhausting but inspiring challenge.

Alexandra Peace is a freelance indexer and editor living in the beautiful Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. She is on the ISC/SCI executive as the Eastern Representative. Alex was thrilled to work on the TRC Report indexes with fellow indexers.

Mary Newberry has been indexing and editing since 2000, and is past president of the ISC/SCI. Mary, the recipient of the 2016 Ewart-Daveluy Indexing Award, works in many disciplines, but is particularly drawn to the fields of diversity and social justice, and enjoys collaborative indexing projects.


Ryan Van Huijstee is managing editor at McGill-Queen’s University Press. He was the managing editor for the TRC report

Stephen Ullstrom wrote the article, “Decolonizing the Index: Indexing in Indigenous Studies,” for The Indexer, vol. 34, no.3, Sept. 2016. He is a freelance indexer currently living in Edmonton, Alberta. In the depth of winter, he dreams of tropical Taiwan, where he grew up.

Gillian Watts

Session: More Food for Thought: Grains and Granularity

Description: Cookbook indexing is popular with foodie indexers, and this follow-up to my 2014 presentation tackles some details. Many new cookbooks combine health information and recipes, while others focus narrowly on specific ingredients, cooking techniques, appliances, or cultures. Deciding what to index then becomes more challenging. Which ingredients are staple pantry items and which should be indexed? How important are seasonings? How much can you assume your reader knows? And what do you do when health issues intertwine with tempting recipes?

Presenter: Gillian Watts has been a professional indexer, copy editor, and proofreader since 1997. She has indexed about 200 cookbooks and wishes she had time to try all the recipes.

Sergey Lobachev

Session:  Developing a Business Strategy: Case Study for Indexers

Description: The purpose of this session is to discuss the development of a business strategy. Running an indexing business is a challenging task, especially for the newcomers into the profession. The path to success depends on various factors, including effective marketing campaigns, strong customer relations, and sound project management. All those factors, however, should align with a unique business strategy. The presenter will discuss the main components of business strategy development and share his experience in building a successful indexing business.

Presenter: Sergey Lobachev launched his indexing business in 2014. His specialty is back-of-the-book indexes for literature in humanities and social sciences. He lives in London, Ontario.

David Ream

Session: IXMLembedder:  a new tool for embedding index entries

Description: IXMLembedder allows users to work in Word, InDesign, or XML and other markup languages to insert document IDs while writing the index in their stand-alone software. The index entries are then inserted into the source document via IXML files. A demonstration will be done for a real-life Word project.

Presenter: Mr. Ream has a Comp. Sci. M.S. degree from CWRU. Mr. Ream has worked with publishers in the areas of typesetting design and production, database creation, editorial systems, and electronic publication design and production

Allan Walker

Session: Seven types of specificity: the history of alphabetico-specific indexing

Description: In the late nineteenth century, a number of writers codified a set of principles for alphabetico-specific indexing, including C.A. Cutter in the United States and H.B. Wheatley in Britain. These principles are now generally accepted as the basis of many types of English-language indexing, ranging from library dictionary catalogues to back-of-the book indexes and rules for thesaurus construction. Over time, associated terms of art which support the specific entry method were coined and defined, including “natural language”, “direct order”, “syndetic structure”, and “alphabetical order” itself.

Presenter: Alan Walker is an award-winning Australian indexer and a former President and Honorary Life Member of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers.

Valerie Nesset

Session: Indexing For Our Users Not Ourselves [Must be June 3!]

Description: It makes sense that indexing and classification systems are developed by information professionals knowledgeable in information structure and management. Or does it? Often, users find many of these systems non-intuitive and confusing to use, meaning that the systems are not meeting the users’ needs and may be avoided altogether.  This presentation will discuss the development of user-friendly indexing and classification practices by addressing issues such as information behaviour, usability, and user experience.

Presenter: Valerie Nesset, PhD, Associate Professor, Associate Chair, Department of Library and Information Studies, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York. Valerie is the editor of the Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science. Her research focuses on the intersection between information-seeking behavior and information literacy, specifically with elementary school students.

Heather Ebbs

Session: Size Does Matter: Fitting the Index to the Pages

Description: Ensuring that our index is the correct length for the book is a basic quality standard. To gauge an appropriate depth of indexing given the space available, indexers need to know how to calculate the pages remaining in a book and how to calculate how much space their index will take up. This practical session will cover the basics of page counts and measuring index length.

Presenter: Heather Ebbs has prepared everything from one-page indexes for children’s books to multiple-signature annual indexes to medical periodicals in her 37 years as an indexer and editor.

Heather Hedden

Session: Thesaurus Creation and Back-of-the Book Indexing Compared

Description: Creating a thesaurus (a structured kind of controlled vocabulary or taxonomy used to support indexing and retrieval) in many ways is similar to creating a back-of-the-book index, but there are also subtle, yet significant, differences that might not be readily apparent. This presentation compares key points, including creating multiple points of entry, forming hierarchical structure, and indicating related topics, with examples in all cases. A comparison with periodical indexing is also included.

Presenter: Heather Hedden is a senior vocabulary editor at Gale/Cengage Learning, former indexer, author of The Accidental Taxonomist, and a board member of ASI.

Frances Lennie on Cindex; Gale Rhoades on Macrex; Judi Gibbs on Sky

Session: Getting the Most Out of Your Indexing Software: Ask the Experts


Gale Rhoades is the North American publisher of the MACREX Indexing program and a consultant who specializes in making the use of computers more like toasting bread than rocket science. Indexers, and especially Macrex users, often benefit from her extensive (and freely shared) knowledge of hardware, software, and peripherals.

Frances Lennie began developing the CINDEX indexing software in 1982 and derives great pleasure helping users make the most of all it has to offer. Over the years, she has also been active within the American Society for Indexing (ASI) serving as Treasurer and President.

Judi Gibbs, has been indexing since 1999. She has used SKY indexing software since 2000. Her work experience before indexing includes studio pottery; library reference work; and engineering and medical procedure writing.

Kate Mertes

Session: Term Selection for Indexing Efficiency

Description: Term selection is perhaps the critical step of the indexing process, but how do you actually do it? And how do you do it efficiently and effectively? Even the most experienced indexers can get bogged down in the minutiae of a complex text. Kate Mertes will walk you through her own process for generating good terms in good time.

Presenter: Kate Mertes is sole proprietor of Mertes Editorial Services, providing indexing, information retrieval, and editorial expertise for complex, challenging projects in law and the humanities. Twice past-president of ASI and a recipient of the Hines award for services to the indexing field, Kate has written a number of articles on indexing and has twice received the ASI/EIS award for excellence in indexing.