While the table of contents provides the chapter organization of the text, the index provides a roadmap to the topics.
- gathers important information from many points in the text
- arranges the information into headings and subheadings
- uses cross-references to indicate where related material may be found
- uses both the language of the text and the user’s language
Computer-generated indexes list all page references to a term. However, they neither specify the references nor arrange them. For this reason, computer-generated indexes tend not to be user friendly. For example, you might want to know about security features on your tablet.
- Which information do you find more useful:
- security 9, 75, 83, 112, 142, 136, 137, 154, 155, 280, 289, 419, 497
- security. See also privacy
- access restrictions, 136–137
- Auto-Lock feature, 136
- deleting data remotely, 293
- Find My iPad app, 9, 83, 154–155, 419
- Game Center invitations, 280
- image overlays, 229
- Passcode Lock feature, 136
- passwords, 75
- settings management, 136–137
- Siri, 497
- Wi-Fi, 289
It provides entry points for the person who has read the book and wants to locate a piece of information. It assists the browser who wants to know if the book covers topics he or she is interested in.
It assists the reader who has specialized subject knowledge and is looking up a term such as Keynote app and the general reader who is more likely to want to find out if the book has information on preparing a presentation. A good index accommodates both readers.
Types of indexes
- If a text requires a simple index, you might choose to create one with single headings:
- prioritizing marriage, 138-142, 177-179
- problem solving, 96-101
- professional money management, 172-173
- psychology, positive, 230-231
- The index for a longer text divides the information using subheadings. You might choose between a vertical style:
- communication, electronic
- email, 187–195, 237
- phone, 203–212
- social media, 197–201
- texting, 200–201
- VoIP, 201–202
- web, 199–200
- or a run-in style:
- communication, electronic
- email, 187–195, 237; phone, 203–212; social media, 197–201;
- texting, 200–201;VoIP, 201–202; web, 199–200.
Choice of style may be dictated by available space or preference.
I produce user-friendly indexes at competitive rates. Working with the author and/or publisher, I create an index that meets length and style specifications and conveys the central themes and ideas of the text. I use dedicated index software for professional results.
Rates are commonly based on cost per indexable page. Depending on the complexity of the work, the cost may range from $3 to $6 per indexable page. The best way to estimate cost is to provide a 10-page sample from the middle of the book for evaluation. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a member of the Indexing Society of Canada and the American Society for Indexing.