Why do I need an index?
A good index will make your content easier to find – it’s as simple as that. You may simply want a ‘bare-bones’ index arranged into higher-order topics, especially if you have a good amount of detail in your table of contents. Or you might prefer all concepts and topics to be located.
How is it created?
A good index cannot be automatically generated. Consider a book about, say, dog behaviour. The indexer will understand that a reader might look up a doggy fact by starting with ‘dog’ or ‘canine’ – but you might not have even mentioned canine in the text. An automated system will not ‘know’ to add both ‘dog’ and ‘canine’ to the list, but an indexer will. An indexer who understands the subject matter will have a knowledge of the concepts involved in your text.
SP Editing uses a program called SKYIndex. First I read through your document, marking any words or concepts that stand out as being of interest to a reader. I then use the software to enter these words, and the software sorts them alphabetically as I go. I can use the options to structure your index with features such as indenting, page number spans, cross-references and much more. The final product is an index in Word or plain text, completed and ready to be dropped in at the end of your text.
The finished product should not list absolutely every instance of a word, but is arranged into headings that the indexer has judged to be important. There should be at least some information to read about the item. This reduces the number of pages that a reader has to visit to find the best information.
What does an index cost?
The cost, of course, depends upon the level of detail that is included. SP Editing is a member of Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers – ANZSI. This ensures that our work is informed by the latest available information and training. SP Editing charges $65/hour, the rate recommended by ANZSI. This rate was set in 2014, and indexers may charge above or below this; it assumes, however, that your index is produced by a competent indexer.
Please contact us if you would like to talk about having an index created and I will give you an estimate. The charge would include a fully formatted, proof-read document and one pass for correction if needed.
A word from a client…
Sally produced indexes for the Centre for Veterinary Education’s conference proceedings which were accurate, comprehensive, cross-referenced and enhanced the reader’s experience. Sally is proactive, well organised and methodical, and a pleasure to work with.
Elisabeth Churchward, Centre for Veterinary Education, the University of Sydney