Ewart-Daveluy Indexing Award

The ISC/SCI Ewart-Daveluy Award, inaugurated in 2015, is presented each year to an individual who has created an index that demonstrates outstanding expertise through a combination of skills, such as the ability to

  • analyze complex text
  • design an index that significantly enhances reader use of the text
  • overcome challenges in creative and useful ways
  • demonstrate insight in addressing the needs of the audience

The award consists of a framed certificate accompanied by a letter.

The award is named after two historical figures who indexed and recognized the importance of indexes. Marie-Claire Daveluy (1880–1968) was a librarian, cataloguer, bibliographer and historian. She co-founded and directed the library school at the Université de Montréal and published historical works, children’s fiction and cataloguing rules, including those for subject headings. She also published a monumental work on Jeanne Mance, which has an index, in 1934. John S. Ewart (1852?–1933) published Ewart’s Index of the Statutes in several subsequent editions during the 1870s. He was a respected lawyer who practised in Toronto and then Winnipeg and was a member of the team that defended Louis Riel.

The next deadline for nominations is March 10, 2021, and the award will be presented at the annual conference. The coordinator of the 2021 adjudicating panel is Judy Dunlop. The panel members are Mary Newberry, Audrey McClellan, Noeline Bridge, and a special guest, Kate Mertes. For guidelines and a link to the 2021 nomination form, see below.

It is our hope that the award will showcase and promote best practices in indexing and that the established criteria will provide food for thought and guidance to those who strive for excellence in their work.

Recent Recipients


An individual may make more than one nomination, but an index may be submitted only once in its lifetime.


  • must be Canadian citizens OR resident in Canada
  • are not required to be members of ISC/SCI
  • may nominate themselves

The award is open to indexes:

  • created for single and multi-volume non-serial works published anywhere in the world
  • in print format, either paper or online (i.e., as PDF) (e-books are excluded because the methodologies and standards for these are in flux)
  • in English, French or both
  • published during the preceding 2 years (i.e., 2019 or 2020).

The submission is made through the ISC Award nomination form. The form includes

  1. A paragraph indicating why this particular index merits the award
  2. Attachment of the PDF of the book including the index (2 volumes if it is a multi-volume work) (hardcopy may be accepted—please contact the coordinator if this option is required)
  3. Fee payment of $30

Adjudicating panel

  • The panel consists of 3 or more experienced indexers who are members of ISC/SCI, one of whom acts as coordinator. Non-member specialists may be consulted as required.
  • Note that discussions of the judges are confidential. Feedback will be provided, if deemed helpful, to the first three runners-up. Feedback will be private and the names of the runners-up will not be publicized.


Submitted indexes will be considered in light of style, content analysis, structure, vocabulary, cross-referencing and accuracy. The award will be given only if there is a nomination of sufficient calibre.

The criteria include the following but are not limited to them.


  • Consistent and coherent throughout index.
  • Appropriate to the content and challenges of the material.
  • Anticipates user needs and enhances user experience of the text.

Content analysis

  • User needs are anticipated.
  • All significant concepts are indexed.
  • All major themes are traced.
  • Minor concepts and themes are integrated, as appropriate.
  • Content is indexed at a consistent level of detail throughout the book, as much as variation in text and content allows.
  • Scattered discussions are traced.
  • Passing mentions are avoided.
  • Indexer maintains neutrality; no indexer bias is apparent.
  • Illustrations, tables, appendices, etc. are included in a consistent manner.


  • Multiple access points for concepts are provided as much as possible, including double-posted entries.
  • Sub-entries are introduced appropriately to:
    1. clarify main headings when essential
    2. divide locators into manageable and understandable groupings
    3. clarify relationships among concepts.
  • Strings of undifferentiated locators occur only if there is no way of differentiating them effectively.
  • Levels of sub-entries are appropriate to the complexity and nature of the content.
  • Cross-reference structure is well developed and suits the content (see the cross-referencing section, below).
  • An introductory note or headnote clearly explains any special features such as index-specific abbreviations or departures from indexing conventions.
  • Prepositions are used to clarify text only when essential.
  • Font changes and symbols are appropriate to the complexity of the material and the needs of the user.
  • The layout and style enhance scanning and understanding of the index; care has been given to layout (e.g., white space, running heads, cont’d lines, etc.).


  • Main entries and sub-entries are clearly expressed.
  • Terms (main entries, sub-entries) are appropriate to the discipline and expected audience.
  • Author’s vocabulary is integrated.
  • User vocabulary is anticipated and integrated.
  • Current vocabulary is integrated where appropriate.
  • Indexer vocabulary is neutral and respectful of the content.


  • Cross-references are adequate and useful.
  • See also references send readers to appropriate related material.
  • There are sufficient see also references to map the content clearly.
  • Cross-references are not used to send users to entries that take up only 1–2 lines, where double-postings would clearly be preferable.
  • Rejected terms (see references) are clear, effective and sufficient.


  • Spelling is correct throughout.
  • Page ranges and references are in order.
  • Alphabetization of main entries, sub-entries and cross-references is correct and consistent within the index, no matter the system chosen.
  • Punctuation is correct and consistent.
  • Forms of names are correct and consistent.
  • Terms are correctly and consistently formulated.
  • There are no circular or blind references.
  • Double-posted entries have the same page references at both locations.