In 1997, John E Simkin, a founding member of the Australian Indexing Society, wrote about the “technical vs. professional aspects of the practice of indexing” and argued that “indexers must take professionalism seriously if they are to raise their own status or contribute to the development of modern information management.” You can read the article here in The Indexer Volume 20 (4) https://www.theindexer.org/files/20-4/20-4_178.pdf
Simkin must have said something controversial, because in the following issue (Vol 20 (1)), there were three “counterblast” letters to the editor. What were the concerns? Well, one of them was this throw-away statement “If all you’ve ever bothered to learn is how to knock off an index to a book on some well-known topic — gardening, biography, cookery …”.
You just don’t knock off a biography, exclaimed the letter-writers. Carol Barlow, a scientist, wrote that indexing biographies is “demanding, time consuming, and uneconomic” and added “I therefore leave these to the experts.” Hazel Bell directed the readers to her book “Indexing biographies and other stories of human lives” for the contrary case.
Biographies and memoirs can be fascinating to index and are within anyone’s capability with some training. At the conference in Ottawa May 24-25, Kendra Millis will help us grow professionally when she shares her expertise in this rich and engaging genre.
And now a reminder that special pricing deadlines are approaching fast. Early bird pricing on conference fees ends Monday April 15. The discount on room rates at the 90U Residence on the University of Ottawa campus ends April 11. The Lord Elgin room rate discount ends April 22.