Re: multiple indexes (an existential query)

Subject: Re: multiple indexes (an existential query)
From: Joan Stout <sasjcs -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 1994 09:32:11 -0500

Randy Allen Harris wrote (with much angst 8-)):

> A good many academic books have separate indexes,--e.g., one for
> "subjects" and one for "names". The more indexes there are, the more
> aggravating I find it (one linguistics book I know has four separate
> indexes, for subjects, names, rules & principles, and languages).
> But even two adds significantly to my search time, especially since
> they usually come with virtually no navigational help (tabs, headers,
> whatever).

> Why? Are there readers who prefer this? Are multiple indexes cheaper
> to produce? Are some indexers sadists? Why?

I'm sure that some indexers are sadists, but I hope they are a small
minority. ;-) I'm a technical writer, but I also do freelance indexing,
and I contract for about 12 academic books per year. If I prepare
separate indexes for one of these books, it's because the publisher
asks me to. That's what they want to contract for, and I can take it
or leave it. I always take it. 8-) When the publisher wants separate
name and subject indexes, it's because the book has an abundance of
citations, and they think the names will clutter the index. They also
have the impression that most people who look up names are interested
*only* in names, i.e. academics looking for themselves and their
colleagues in the index. ;-) (No flames, please, this is what an editor
at a major publisher told me.)

Multiple indexes are not cheaper, at least when I do them. I get a
significantly higher rate for preparing multiple indexes.


| Joan Stout | "I worked as a technical writer...editing |
| Freelance Indexer | manuals...on how to dispose of sewage in |
| Technical Writer | permafrost; we all had to wear white shirts |
| sasjcs -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com | - that was mandatory - and I was fired at |
| SAS Institute, Inc. | the end of two weeks for spending too much |
| Cary, NC | time staring out the window." (Edward Abbey) |

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