Writing an index can be like building a magnificent backyard storage shed one brick at a time, with no blueprint and no idea of what the finished product will look like.
Initially, the work proceeds cautiously and slowly; many decisions are made by feeling. Enthusiasm turns to discomfort as the growing structure begins to look awkward and messy. We push through it. As we approach the final chapters, the layout becomes apparent, and the speed picks up as we reach the end of the book. Or, perhaps nothing is clear until we step back and edit the whole thing.
Is there a better way? Fred Leise, renowned indexer and Berkeley course instructor, points out that indexers are often advised to “mirror the structure of the text” but we are not told how to do that. Fred will show us how at the ISC/SCI conference in Ottawa May 24-25.