What Is Indexing?

“… an index is a systematic arrangement of entries designed to enable users to locate information in a document. The process of creating an index is called indexing, and a person who does it is called an indexer.” (American Society for Indexing)

An index is a concise and cohesive map to the text. It is an essential tool for accessing and revisiting content. It provides references to the locations of important information—and deliberately excludes references to irrelevant information.

The index for a nonfiction book is typically the responsibility of the author. Most authors do not index their own work and few publishers have in-house indexers. Ninety-five percent of indexing is done by freelancers hired by authors or publishers.

In selecting index main headings and subheadings, Judy retains an author’s terminology as well as anticipates the language and expectations of a variety of readers. She includes helpful cross-references and double postings to ease the reader’s search.

She can create the index to author and publisher specifications. Or you can ask her to make the decisions about these items (e.g., whether to provide an indented or run-in style index).

An index is created from a book’s final PDF proofs, after all content has undergone editing and proofreading and once page numbers have been set as they will appear in the published work. The indexer works with the final PDF proofs to create an index that is submitted in RTF (rich text format).