Recipients of ASI Excellence in Indexing Awards

ASI Excellence in Indexing Award Recipients (2017– )

NOTE: Sample pages from selected award-winning indexes can be downloaded as PDF files from the highlighted title links below. Sample indexes are published with permission of the copyright owners as an educational service to the industry. PDFs can be rotated within Acrobat.


2017 Richard Genova for his index to The New Appleman on Insurance Law Library Edition, published by LexisNexis. The award-winning index encompasses a three-volume practice set, a thirteen-volume comprehensive set, and approximately ten years of a companion newsletter. The index to this technically complex body of material is an excellent tool for both legal professionals and non-specialists. Its navigation aids enable the user to find common threads across many volumes, using conventions that make it easy to navigate. The headnote is repeated on each page. “Continued” lines are provided for page and column breaks, and also within complex multi-levels of subheadings where it would otherwise be easy to get lost. This extensive index is impressive for the sheer volume of material it clearly and comprehensively  makes accessible to the user.

ASI/EIS Publishing Award Recipients (2014–2016)

2016 Award not given.

2015 Kate Mertes for her index to The Joseph Smith Papers: Documents, Volume 3 (February 1833 — March 1834), published by The Church Historian’s Press. This extensive collection of eighty-eight documents (contained within 600 pages) provides a fascinating glimpse into the challenges and informative events of this period. The documents range from church meeting minutes, Joseph Smith’s revelations and letters, architectural and city plans, priesthood licenses, and legal documents, to an effort to classify the scriptures by topic. The committee felt that this index stands as a model, not only for its meticulous content and its organization of this diverse material, but also for its elegant formatting. It shows how the indexer and the publisher can work hand-in-glove to produce something both beautiful and supremely useful.

2014 Award not given.

H.W. Wilson Award Recipients (1979–2013)

2013 Kate Mertes for her index to My Thoughts (Mes Pensées) by Montesquieu, translated and edited by Henry C. Clark and published by Liberty Fund, Inc. My Thoughts (Mes Pensées) is the first complete English translation of Montesquieu’s notebooks, in which he recorded ideas on a wide variety of topics (Pensées), ranging from single sentences unrelated to adjacent topics to lengthy passages that were later incorporated into his published works. Each Pensée has a unique identifier that is combined with the page number to point users to the numbered passage on the page. The committee found the index to be an exemplar both for its lengthy and elegant headnote that is a model for explaining naming conventions and locator format, and for biographical and historical indexing generally in its handling of Montesquieu as a subject.

2012 Award not given.

2011 Michael Brackney for the index to Dogen’s Extensive Record: A Translation of the Eihei Koroku. Translated by Taigen Dan Leighton and Shohaku Okumura and published by Wisdom Publications. Eihei Dogen, the 13th-century Zen master who founded the Japanese Soto School of Zen, is renowned as one of the world’s most remarkable religious thinkers. Dogen’s Extensive Record is the first-ever complete and scholarly translation of this monumental work into English. The Wilson Award Committee noted the comprehensive nature of the index as well as its complete and creative headnote. This index, noted for its elegance, matches succinctly and creatively that of the text.

2010 Award not given.

2009 Jan Wright for her index to Real World Adobe InDesign CS3, by Olav Martin Kvern and David Blatner and published by Peachpit Press. It is the first time a technical manual has won the award! The Wilson Award Committee was impressed by the detailed level of granularity at which the index was written. Every conceivable utility, button, dialog box and menu item was covered in the index. In addition to the granularity, the coverage of the index was exhaustive. There did not appear to be a single concept in the text that was not appropriately covered in the index. Also, as is so important in a technical manual’s index, not only were software features indexed, but actions were as well. That allows users to find information on how to use features not just descriptions of them. Index entries were appropriately double- or even triple-posted, ensuring multiple access points to information. The index was written in a concise, direct style, resulting in an index with a scientific elegance. Generally short lines, along with a layout that used lots of white space made for easy reading, even at the relatively small font size. Finally, the authors’ use of humor was consistently represented in the index, which is not always an easy thing to carry off.

2008 Margie Towery for her index to The History of Cartography, volume three: Cartography in the European Renaissance, parts 1 and 2, edited by David Woodward and published by the University of Chicago Press. Sixty-four expert scholars contributed to this volume, which traces connections with medieval mapmaking as well as the development of new technologies in the Renaissance era. Towery’s task was to bring together related ideas from the text, often expressed in different ways by different authors, as well as to provide access to details on specific persons, places, and technologies from the period. The Wilson Award Committee noted the completeness of the index and particularly praised her precise yet evocative choice of wording that draws readers in and encourages them to look up the references in the text. The index not only stands as a model and inspiration for indexers, but is a pleasure to read.

2007 Do Mi Stauber for her index to The Self-Possessed: Deity and Spirit Possession in South Asian Literature and Civilization, by Frederick M. Smith, published by Columbia University Press in 2006. Based on years of intensive research, Frederick Smith analyzes Indic literature from all time periods and over a hundred ethnographies, identifying several forms of possession. Kay Banning, speaking for the 2007 Wilson Award Committee, commented that Do Mi Stauber’s index to Frederick Smith’s complex work has a strong conceptual base, with well-developed headings and a solid network of cross references. The thoughtfully phrased subheadings have a narrative flow, appropriate for the run-in style of the index.

2006 Charlee Trantino for her index to A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake: Unlocking James Joyce’s Masterwork, by Joseph Campbell and Henry Morton Robinson, published as a new edition by the New World Library. When the stream-of-consciousness style Finnegans Wake was published in 1939, critics called it “unintelligible.” Others such as Joseph Campbell wanted to figure it out. Working with the poet Henry Morton Robinson, A Skeleton Key was the first guide to Joyce’s masterwork. It solved many of the puzzles Joyce presents, but earlier editions had no index. The elegance of the index, its appropriateness for the work and for its scholarly audience is what makes it an exemplar.

2005 Award not given.

2004 Janet Russell for her index to Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, Second Edition, 2002 Revision (2003 Update). T he Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR2) are “designed for use in the construction of catalogs and other lists in general libraries of all sizes. The rules cover the description of, and the provision of access points for, all library materials commonly collected at the present time.” The rules are published jointly by The American Library Association, The Canadian Library Association and CILIP: Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (London). Speaking for the committee, Janet Perlman commented that, “The Wilson jury felt that the index exhibited excellence in its accuracy, completeness, and ease of use. The index had a level of complexity matching that of the document, and the indexer’s use of the text’s language reflected good indexing practice and anticipated the needs of its primary users: cataloguers.”

2003 Award not given.

2002 Margie Towery for her cumulative index to The Letters of Matthew Arnold, a six-volume collection of letters of the well-known nineteenth-century British poet and critic, published by the University Press of Virginia. Ms. Towery’s index appears in volume 6 of the series. The committee was impressed by the thoroughness of the index and its consequent usefulness to the scholars who are its primary audience. Towery’s painstaking approach can be seen in the very precise page ranges given for each letter and the lists of “mentioneds,” the concise but elegant distinctions made between people with the same name, and the brief but clear analysis of the entries. The relevance and parallelism of the subheadings and the grammatical relationship between the subheads and the main headings are also outstanding. “The language,” as committee member Laura Gottlieb put it, “is lovely.” All in all, the committee felt that this index not only provides excellent access to Matthew Arnold’s letters, but stands as a shining example for anyone undertaking a similar project in the future. An electronic version of the complete index, hyperlinked to the digitized text, can be viewed at

2001 Ronald M. Gephart and Paul H. Smith for their cumulative index to Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789, published by the Library of Congress last year. The Letters project began in 1970, produced twenty-five volumes containing the 23,000 letters of the first delegates to Congress, and was completed in 2000 with the publication of the cumulative index in volume 26. The Wilson Award judging committee found that the cumulative index provides narrative analysis for the letters and makes the letters and history within accessible. As one judge said, “The index is the narrative.” In a recent review, the Letters of Delegates to Congress were described as “one of the most noteworthy and useful series to have appeared in the past 100 years of historical editing and publishing in America.” The index makes it so.

2000 Nedalina Dineva for the index to Concepts of Mass in Contemporary Physics and Philosophy by Max Jammer. Published by Princeton University Press. The winning index is described as “an elegant index to a complex subject” by Dr. Bella Hass Weinberg, a member of the judging committee.

1999 Richard Genova for Brownfields Law and Practice by Michael B. Gerrard, published by Matthew Bender & Co., Inc. In her praise of Mr. Genova’s work, Colleen Dunham, chair of the 1999 Wilson Award committee, noted that Genova’s index met a three-pronged challenge of (1) bringing readers to the new vocabulary of a new frontier in environmental law, (2) charting an easy map to the large and immensely complicated text of Brownfields, and (3) addressing the novice, as well as the sophisticated, brownfields researcher.

1998 Laura Moss Gottlieb for Dead Wrong: A Death Row Lawyer Speaks Out Against Capital Punishment by Michael A. Mello, published by the University of Wisconsin Press. Do Mi Stauber, chair of the 1998 Wilson Award committee, praised Gottlieb’s indexing of Dead Wrong: “The winning index must be accurate and useful to the reader, but it must also be unusually elegant in its style and its synthesis of the information in the text. Laura Gottlieb’s index meets all of these criteria. … A book with this kind of narrative structure, especially one with the large amount of information about the legal system and about specific cases found in this text, is extremely difficult to index and needs an unusual amount of analysis. Laura Gottlieb has gracefully extracted the conceptual material from this narrative and made it accessible to the reader in a coherent index structure.”

1997 Gillian Northcott and Ruth Levitt for Dictionary of Art, edited by Joan Shoaf Turner and published by Grove’s Dictionaries in the United States and Macmillan Publishers Ltd. in the United Kingdom. The Dictionary of Art is made up of 32 volumes. This marks the first time that the Wilson Award has been presented for a multi-volume work. The index, which took 10 years to compile, comprised one volume of the dictionary.

1996 Award not given.

1995 Martin L. White for the index to The Promise of Pragmatism by John Patrick Diggins. Published by University of Chicago Press

1994 Patricia Deminna for Carnal Israel: Reading Sex in Talmudic Culture by Daniel Boyarin. Published by University of California Press

1993 Award not given.

1992 Rachel Jo Johnson for The American Law of Real Property by Arthur Gaudio. Published by Matthew Bender.

1991 Nancy L. Daniels for Beyond Public Architecture: Strategies for Design Evaluation by Hamid Shirvani. Published by Van Nostrand Reinhold.

1990 Marcia Carlson for Strategic Nuclear Arms & Arms Control Debates by Lynn Eden and Steven Miller. Published by Cornell University Press.

1989 Philip James for Medicine for the Practicing Physician, 2nd ed.. by John Willis Hurst. Published by Butterworths.

1988 Jeanne Moody for Raptor Management Techniques by Beth A. Giron Pendleton. Published by National Wildlife Institute.

1987 Award not given.

1986 Marjorie Hyslop for Metals Handbook Comprehensive Index by American Society for Metals. Published by American Society for Metals.

1985 Sydney W. Cohen for The Experts Speak by Cerf and Navasky. Published by Random House.

1984 Trish Yancey for Index and Directory of U.S. Industry Standards Published by Information Handling Services.

1983 Award not given.

1982 Catherine Fix for Diagnosis of Bone and Joint Disorders by Donald Resnick. Published by Wm. Saunders Company.

1981 Delight Ansley for Cosmos by Carl Sagan. Published by Random House.

1980 Linda I. Solow for Beyond Orpheus: Studies in Musical Structures by David Epstein. Published by M. I. T. Press.

1979 Hans H. Wellisch for The Conversion of Scripts: Its Nature, History and Utilization by Hans H. Wellisch. Published by John Wiley.