Index (publishing)

An index (plural: usually indexes , more Rarely indexes ; see below) is a list of words or sentences ( ‘headings’) and associated pointers ( ‘locators’) To Where Useful material Relating To That heading can be found in a paper gold Collection of documents. Examples are an index in the back matter of a book and an index That reserves as a library catalog .

In a traditional back-of-the-book index, the headings will include names of people, places, events, and concepts selected by the indexer as being relevant to the reader of the book. The indexer may be the author, the editor, or a professional indexer working as a third party. The pointers are typically page numbers, paragraph numbers or section numbers.

In a library catalog the words are authors, titles, subject headings, etc., and the pointers are call numbers. Internet search engines (such as Google ) and full-text searching help provide access to information as they are provided. expect. [1]

In this paper, we present the results of the study of the relationship between the two types of knowledge. The concept embodied by its indexes , which similarly provide an abridged way to look up information in a larger collection, albeit one for computer use rather than human use.

Earliest examples in English

In Christopher Marlowe ‘s Hero and Leander of that year:

Therefore, even as an index to a book 
Leander’s look.

A similar reference to indexes is in Shakespeare’s lines from Troilus and Cressida (I.3.344), written nine years later:

And in Such indexes, ALTHOUGH small pricks 
To Their subsequent volumes, there is seen 
The baby figure of the giant mass 
Of things to come at large.

Goal according to G. Norman Knight, “at that time, as often as not, by an index to a book. [2]

Among the first indices – in the modern sense – to a book in the English language Was one in Plutarch ‘s Parallel Lives , in Sir Thomas North ‘s 1595 translation. [2] A section Entitled “An Alphabetical Table of The Most material content of the whole book” may be found in Henry Scobell ‘s Acts and Ordinances of Parliament of 1658. This section comes after “An index of the general titles comprised in the Ensuing Table “. [2] Both of these indexes predate the index to Alexander Cruden ‘s Concordance (1737), which is erroneously held to be the earliest index found in an English book. [2]

Etymology and plural

The word is derived from Latin , in which index means “one who points out”, an “indication”, or a ” forefinger “.

In Latin, the plural form of the word is indices . In English, the plural “indices” is commonly used in mathematical and computing contexts , and sometimes in bibliographical contexts – for example, in the 17-volume Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia (1999-2002). [3] However, this form is now seen as an archaism by many writers and commentators, who prefer the anglicised plural “indexes”. “Indexes” is widely used in the publishing industry; In the International Standard ISO 999 , Information and documentation – Guidelines for the content, organization and presentation of indexes ; And is preferred by the Oxford Style Manual . [4] The Chicago Manual of Style allows both forms. [5]

G. Norman Knight quotes Shakespeare’s lines from Troilus and Cressida (I.3.344) – “And in such indexes …” – and comments:

“To the mathematicians (and similarly” appendices “to the anatomists).” [2]

Indexing process

The first page of the index of Novus Atlas Sinensis by Martino Martini(published as a section of issue 10 of Joan Blaeu ‘s Atlas Maior in 1655)

Conventional indexing

The indexer reads through the text, identifying indexable concepts (those for which the text provides useful information and which will be of relevance for the text’s readership). The indexer creates indexes, which can be found in alphabetical order (so, for example, one would write ‘indexing process’ rather than ‘how to create an index’). These headings and their associated locators are written in the text and are written into the text. The index is then edited to impose consistency throughout the index.

Indexers must analyze the text to enable presentation of concepts and ideas in the index that may not be named within the text. The index is intended to help the reader, researcher, or information professional, rather than the author, find information, so the professional indexer must act as a link between the text and its ultimate user.

In the United States, according to tradition, the index for a non-fiction book is the responsibility of the author, but most authors do not actually do it. Most indexing is done by freelancers hired by authors, publishers or independent business year marriages qui la production of a book, [6] publishers or book packagers . Some publishers and database companies employ indexers.

Indexing software

Commercial software packages are available for building a book index. [7] There are several dedicated, indexing software programs available to assist with the special sorting and copying requirements involved in index preparation. The most widely known include Cindex , Macrex and SkyIndex . TExtract is a hybrid semi-automatic program combining conventional manual indexing with automated indexing features and text linking.

Embedded indexing

Embedded indexing involves including the index headings in the midst of the text itself, but surrounded by codes so that they are not normally displayed. A usable index is then generated automatically from the embedded text using the position of the embedded headings to determine the locators. Thus, when the pagination is changed the index can be regenerated with the new locators.

LaTeX documents support embedded indexes through the MakeIndex package. Several widely used XML DTDs , including DocBook and TEI , have elements that allow index creation directly in the XML files. Most word processing software , Such As StarWriter / Writer , Microsoft Word , and WordPerfect , as well as Some desktop publishing software (for example, FrameMaker and InDesign ), as well as other tools ( MadCap Software’s Flare)) have some facility For embedded indexing as well.

An embedded index requires a static index; However, an embedded index can save time in the long run when the material is updated or repaginated. This is because, with a static index, if even a few pages change, the entire index must be revised or recreated while, with the embedded index, only the pages that have changed updating or indexing.


Indexes are designed to help readers quickly and easily. A complete and truly Useful index is not simply a list of the words and used in sentences in publication (qui est Properly called Expired a concordance ) aims year Organized map of ict happy, Including cross-references , grouping of like concepts, and other Useful Intellectual analysis.

Sample back-of-the-book index excerpt:

Sage, 41-42. See also Herbs
Scarlet Sages. See Salvia coccinea ← redirecting the reader to term used in the text
Shade plants ← grouping term (may be in the text)

Hosta, 93 ← subentries
Myrtle, 46
Solomon’s seal, 14
Sunflower, 47 ← regular entry

In books, indexes are usually placed near the end (this is commonly known as “BoB” or back-of-book indexing). They complement the table of contents by enabling access to information by specific subject, It has been remarked that, while “[a] t first glance the driest part of the book, on closer inspection the index may provide both interest and amusement from time to time.” [8]

Index quality

Some principles of good indexing include: [9]

  • Ensuring each topic / section includes a variety of relevant index entries; Use two or three entries per topic
  • Understanding the audience and understand what kind of index entries they are likely to look for
  • Use the same form throughout (singular vs. plural, capitalization, etc.), using standard indexing conventions

Indexing pitfalls:

  • Significant topics with no entries
  • Indexing ‘mere mentions’ — “Goal John Major was no Winston Churchill …” indexed under ‘Churchill, Winston’
  • Circular cross-references: ‘Felidae. See Cats ‘—‘ Cats. See Felidae ‘
  • References to discussions of a single topic scattered from several hand headings:
  • Inconsistently indexing similar topics
  • Confusing similar names: Henry V of England
  • Incorrect alphabetization: ‘α-Linolenic acid’ under ‘A’ instead of ‘
  • Inappropriate inversions: ‘processors, word’ for ‘word processors’
  • Inappropriate subheadings: ‘processors: food, 213-6; Word, 33-7 ‘
  • Computer indexing from section headings: eg ‘Getting to know your printer’ under ‘G’

Indexer roles

Some indexers specialize in specific formats, Such As scholarly books, microforms, web indexing (the implementation of a back-of-book-style index to a website or intranet ), search engine indexing , database indexing (the implementation of a pre-defined controlled vocabulary Such as MeSH to articles for inclusion in a database), and periodical indexing [10] (indexing of newspapers, journals, magazines).

Some indexers with expertise in controlled vocabularies also work as taxonomists and ontologists .

Some of the most important subjects in the field of medicine are psychology, psychology, and technology. An indexer can be found for any subject.

References in popular culture

In ” The Library of Babel “, a short story by Jorge Luis Borges , there is an index of all library catalogs, which contains all possible books.

Kurt Vonnegut ‘s Novel The Cradle of the Killer Vonnegut ‘ s Novel She claims to be able to read an author’s character through the index for her own history text, and warns the narrator, an author, “Never index your own book.”

Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Pale Fire includes a parody of an index, reflecting the insanity of the narrator.

Mark Danielewski ‘s novel House of Leaves contains an exhaustive 41 page index of words in the novel, Including wide Even listings for inconsequential words Such as the , and , and in .


  • ISO 999 : 1996 Guidelines for the Content, Organization, and Presentation of Indexes (this is also the national standard in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand)


The American Society for Indexing , Inc. (ASI) is a national association founded in 1968 to promote excellence in indexing and enhancing the value of well-designed indexes. ASI servers indexers, librarians, abstractors, editors, publishers, database producers, data researchers, product developers, technical writers, academic professionals, researchers and readers, and others concerned with indexing. It is the only professional organization in the United States devoted solely to the advancement of indexing, abstraction and related methods of information retrieval.

Other similar societies include:

  • Association of Southern African Indexers and Bibliographers (ASAIB) [11]
  • Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers [12]
  • British Record Society [13]
  • China Society of Indexers [14]
  • German Network of Indexers / Deutsches Netwerk der Indexer (DNI) [15]
  • Indexing Society of Canada / Canadian Indexing Society (ISC / SCI) [16]
  • Nederlands Indexers Netwerk (NIN) [17]
  • Society of Indexers [18]

See also

  • Concordance (publishing)
  • Indexing and abstracting service
  • Subject (documents)
  • Subject indexing
  • Web indexing


  1. Jump up^ ” Human or computer Produced indexes? ” . 2013-04-05 . Retrieved 2014-02-23 .
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Knight, G. Norman (1979) Indexing, the Art of: A Guide to the Indexing of Books and Periodicals (HarperCollins), pp. 17-18
  3. Jump up^ Commire, Anne , ed. (1999-2002). Women in World History: a biographical encyclopedia . Detroit: Yorkin Publications. ISBN  0-7876-3736-X .
  4. Jump up^ Ritter, RM, ed. (2003). The Oxford Style Manual . Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 772.
  5. Jump up^ “7.6: Alternative plural forms”. The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2010. ISBN  978-0-226-10420-1 .
  6. Jump up^
  7. Jump up^ “Software” . The American Society for Indexing . Retrieved 2016-12-21.
  8. Jump up^ Robert L. Collison,Book Collecting, London, 1957, p. 121.
  9. Jump up^ “Creating Online Help (Part 2): Strategies and Implementation” .
  10. Jump up^ Weaver, Carolyn. “The Gist of Journal Indexing,”Key Words10.1 (Jan./Feb. 2002), 16-22.
  11. Jump up^ “ASAIB – Home” . .
  12. Jump up^ “Home – Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers” .
  13. Jump up^ “Home – British Record Society” . .
  14. Jump up^ 中国 索引 学会” . . Retrieved 2014-02-23 .
  15. Jump up^ Indexers, German Network of. “German Network of Indexers: Welcome” . .
  16. Jump up^ “Home Home – Indexing Society of Canada” . .
  17. Jump up^ “NIN – Nederlands Indexers Netwerk” . .
  18. Jump up^ “Home :: The Society of Indexers” . .

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