Welcome to the Digital Trends Task Force (DTTF) page of the American Society for Indexing
The ASI Digital Trends Task Force (DTTF) was formed in 2011 to address the continuing and rapidly increasing evolution of book publishing from traditional print to eBook formats. DTTF initiated an outreach campaign and is currently engaging with publishers, hardware manufacturers, and software developers to design and create “smart indexes” for the digital age.
Indexes and eBooks: The issue
E-reader search features alone do not meet user needs for finding and accessing information within published texts. The American Society for Indexing, via DTTF, is taking a lead in the development of "smart indexes" and other information access tools that will be compatible with the new digital publishing technologies and formats.
eBook indexes, when they exist, are often not interactive; if they do link to content, the links are often to what corresponds to the top of the printed page and not to the exact location of content. Some self-publishing authors and book publishers have chosen to drop indexes from non-fiction eBooks, as the creation of high-quality, interactive indexes is seen as too difficult. There is also a mistaken belief that simple "Search" is adequate and that the time, trouble, and expense of creating indexes is "not worth it." However, the fact is that using word-search to hunt for information in an eBook can be a frustrating, time-consuming, trial-and-error event. The DTTF is now recommending tools and techniques that can help publishers get an interactive index in their eBooks, so that the process can be simpler.
Like users of traditional print books, users of eBooks need a structured display, in the form of an interactive index, where they can quickly and easily locate information. A high-quality, interactive index is a useful feature which enhances the value of an eBook for the user, and which helps distinguish the eBook from its print counterpart. Additionally, semantic metadata indexes can be combined with Search to invisibly enhance the user’s search experience, and the publisher’s ability to create buyer discovery tools across the spectrum of their publications.
In May 2011, the American Society for Indexing established the Digital Trends Task Force (DTTF) to:
The ASI DTTF LinkedIn Group is the best way to keep updated on DTTF initiatives. Membership in the Group is open to any interested individuals from related publishing and online industries. Group discussions focus on developing indexing standards, new publishing tools, research for online indexes, news and articles about new developments, and more. We welcome your input! A new discussion for eBook news is created every month. There are a variety of other discussions focusing on various tools and techniques. You do not have to be a member of the American Society for Indexing but you must have a free LinkedIn account to become a member of the Group. Search for "ASI Digital Trends Task Force" under "Groups" on the LinkedIn home page.
The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) is the group responsible for creating the specifications that make up EPUB 3.0. DTTF is a member of the IDPF. In October 2011, the DTTF submitted a proposal to have IDPF consider adding index functionality to the EPUB format. The proposal moved forward quickly and an Indexes Charter document was published for a vote. The IDPF approved the formation of the EPUB 3.0 Indexes Working Group in December 2011. The Working Group, composed of DTTF members, other indexing society representatives, publishers, and industry partners, is writing the EPUB 3.0 specifications for indexes. When completed it will be added as a modular update.
Charter document: http://idpf.org/charters/2012/indexes/
Wiki for EPUB 3.0: https://code.google.com/p/epub-revision/wiki/IndexesMainPage
The following documents were submitted to the IDPF as part of our proposal to have the IDPF consider index markup in EPUB 3.0:
The IDPF Index functionality document is the explanatory document submitted to the IDPF by the DTTF team, outlining how indexes can work in EPUB 3.0
The ASI DTTF sample index XHTML.htm is a sample index encoded in XHTML (the markup that EPUB books use). This is one of the proposed ways to mark up indexes for use in EPUB.
The ASI DTTF sample index HTML.htm (N.B., HTML, not XHTML) shows the same sample index marked up as normal HTML
The DTTF XHTML as text.docx shows the sample index's codes in XHTML, or what you would see if you chose "view source" in your browser.
The ASI DTTF sample as pdf.pdf shows how the sample index looks when compiled.
The DocBook beta 3 HTML document, by Michele Combs, explains how DocBook marks up indexes for use in EPUB.
Check out our Calendar of Events at: http://www.asindexing.org/i4a/calendar/?pageid=3648&showTitle=1
@ASIndexing #ePrdctn hour (every Wed morning, 11 am Eastern, 8 am Pacific)
Index Versus Full-text Search: A Usability Study of User Preference and Performance, by Carol Barnum, Earvin Henderson, Al Hood, & Rodney Jordan
Let's Get Useable! Usability Studies for Indexes, by Susan C. Olason
Usability Studies in Textbook Design (Copyright Clearance Center)
Using Online Indexes (BNA)
Understanding Publisher/Indexer Workflows: Check out this document to find out about different ways to get an index into documents, and how each way affects the workflow and files.
Kevin Broccoli’s Mashup Page: http://indexmasher.com/
Joe Wikert’s article: The Uber-Index by Joe Wikert http://www.teleread.com/joe-wikert/ebook-indexes-user-interface-features/
The Indexer March 2012: http://www.theindexer.org/ including:
Anatomy of an EPUB eBook by David K. Ream
eBooks with Indexes that Reorganize Conceptually (Xerox Parc)
eBook Ninjas on New Index Interfaces (Jan Wright, Joshua Tallent, Toby Stevenson, and Chris Casey)
Kindle and the Index by James Lamb
Missing Entry: Whither the eBook Index? by Peter Meyer
Linked and active indexes are now a requirement for the Publishing Innovation Awards' QED Seal for eBooks
Ebook Navigation: Browse, Search and Index by Glenda Browne and Mary Coe (Australian Library Journal, November 2012)
Rockley, Ann. eBooks 101. Cheryl Landes reviews Ann Rockley's book which provides a high-level overview of ebooks.
The Future of Digital Books (Mike Matas)
The Next Decade in Book Culture: Effects of EBook Reading Devices (CSPAN), 5/27/10
Proposing New Interfaces for eBook Indexing (Jan Wright for O’Reilly Tools of Change)
Adding Value with Metadata: Open up the Index (Pilar Wyman)
Podcasts on Indexing:
Jan Wright: http://ebookninjas.com/tag/jan-wright/
“Indexes and You” (6 min.): http://youtu.be/6bmyeH9iYOg. In this entertaining spoof of 1950s educational films, “young Timmy” learns about the advantages of indexes over Google search for locating information.
“Indexing and the Google Generation: What You Don't Know Will Hurt You” (60 min.): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFjB-qotP_4&feature=related. This is a presentation by Chuck Knapp of BNA at the 2004 Conference for Law School Computing (CALI). Chuck discusses text searches vs. using indexes, and cites usability studies to support his conclusions.
Please view the ASI updated DTTF Flyer
InDesign scripts and documentation:
Leverage Technologies is also developing tools to assist with legacy and backlist eBook index conversions.
Anatomy of an eBook by David K. Ream
Converting a Legacy Print Book by David K. Ream
The eBook SIG Working Group of NISO (National Information Standards Organization).
The work of DTTF volunteers in 2011 is deeply appreciated
General email contact: email@example.com
ASI Webinar, June 20
"Creating and Maintaining Speed in Indexing", by Kate Mertes. For details visit the Webinars page.
New T-shirts Now Available
The ASI Peace T-shirts can now be purchased at our ASI Online Store.
Announcing the 2013 Hines Award
The Hines Award for 2013 was presented to Jan C. Wright. Jan’s exemplary leadership of the Digital Trends Task Force has produced a long list of accomplishments on behalf of the indexing profession. See the complete award statement.
New Business of Indexing Course