ASI Training in Indexing FAQs

  • For whom is the course designed?

The ASI Training in Indexing course is for persons who seek to

    • acquire basic technical knowledge in order to pursue a career as a professional indexer
    • update and formalize indexing knowledge
    • validate current indexing activity


  • What is the current status of the ASI Training in Indexing course?

The Training in Indexing program is now available.

The course brochure, containing the full course description, pricing, and application form, can be downloaded as a PDF file or requested from General inquiries should be directed to

  • What content is included in the ASI Training in Indexing course?

Unit A: Indexers, users, and documents

Introduction to the function and characteristics of indexes and how indexers work.

    • basic indexing terminology
    • the functions and characteristics of indexes
    • what users want from indexes
    • what kind of people make good indexers
    • the indexing process
    • the role of authors and other document originators
    • document production and categorization
    • creating bibliographic references

Unit B: Choice and form of entries

More detailed guidance on the intellectual processes involved in indexing.

    • selecting concepts for indexing
    • choosing appropriate index terms
    • forming headings and subheadings
    • indexing proper names
    • presenting locators (page numbers)
    • devising cross-references

Unit C: Arrangement and presentation of indexes and thesauri

The principles of index arrangement and the requirements of specialized types of indexing and thesaurus construction.

    • rules for arranging index entries
    • compiling multiple sequences of indexes
    • team and cumulative indexing; book and journal production
    • index layout and presentation
    • thesaurus use and construction


  • How much time is needed to complete the course?

Each unit takes approximately 40–50 hours of study and is based on International Standard guidelines. The minimum amount of time needed to complete the course is five months. There is a limit of 3 years for completion of the course as a whole. An extension may be allowed at the discretion of the Course Administrator and for a fee. It is anticipated that most students will complete it within twelve months.

  • How is ASI membership linked to the ASI Training in Indexing course?

At present only ASI members may take the course.

  • How much does it cost to take the ASI Training in Indexing course?

Prices for the course and exams are

UNIT A ($100)        EXAM ($50)

UNIT B ($125)        EXAM ($75)

UNIT C ($125)        EXAM ($100)

TOTAL COST: $575, with each section charged separately or combined.

  • Can I receive a refund for my CDs if I decided not to take the course?
    Course Unit CDs maybe returned for a refund within 30 days of purchase as long as the EULA (end-user license agreement) seal on the CD is unbroken. A 25% restocking fee will apply.
  • How do the exams work?On completion of each unit of study, and when you feel you are ready (each unit contains self-assessment exercises to evaluate your preparedness for the exam), you request an examination paper from the Exam Administrator through ASI’s resource center using the form that came with your course materials. The Exam Administrator will distribute the examination paper to students, then assign them to Exam Markers and coordinate the results. Students and Exam Markers are deliberately anonymous to each other as this will help to ensure a consistent standard in grading. The completed examination must be returned within a set time after the dispatch of the exam paper to the applicant (2 weeks for Unit A, 3 weeks for Unit B, and 4 weeks for Unit C).

    If you do not pass the exam the first time, you may retake it once, waiting at least one month to resubmit your request. If you do not pass the second time, you may be asked to discontinue the course.

    You may proceed through the units without taking the examinations between each unit. However, when you decide you are ready to take the exams, you may take them only one at a time. You may not apply to take them all at once.

    Upon successful completion of the exams for each of the three study units, you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion.

  • What is the content of each examination?You will be tested on your acquisition of knowledge and practical skills presented in each study unit. Therefore, you may expect to be tested on aspects of the individual content of the unit for which the exam is given and to apply that knowledge in successive exams. In other words, the examinations become more detailed as you move from the first to the third exam. The content on which you might be examined is outlined in the answer to FAQ III.
  • If I want to take the exams without taking the accompanying course, how likely is it that I will pass?No one will be allowed to take the exams without taking the ASI course.
  • How are exams graded?All exams are Pass–Fail. The performance level required to pass the exams is high, and you will find that the exams increase significantly in difficulty as you progress through the course.
  • What kind of feedback can I expect from taking the exams?The Exam Marker will provide detailed feedback comments using a form designed for each unit’s content. This feedback will be passed on to you by the Exam Administrator along with your notification of passing or failing the unit.
  • Can I contest my grades on exams?If you receive a failing grade at your first attempt on any examination, you are encouraged to send any questions to the Exam Administrator, who will forward your queries to the Exam Marker, and then pass back further feedback to you. If you are still not satisfied, you may submit a request to the Exam Administrator to have your answers reviewed by another Exam Marker and to be bound by the decision of that Exam Marker. If you fail at your second attempt on any examination, you may request that your answers be reviewed by two other Exam Markers. In the event of a split decision, the Exam Administrator will initiate a final independent assessment process. You will need to be prepared to pay an additional fee for a final assessment.

    Please be aware that your exam answers are assigned to Exam Markers at random and anonymously. Similarly, you will not know who your Exam Marker is (or Markers, in the case of a contested result).

  • Can my Certificate of Completion be taken away from me?No.

    We have not yet addressed the issue of “cheating.” Should such an unhappy scenario become apparent, the case in question will be reviewed and appropriate resolution sought.

  • How were these course prices determined? Could they change?Many market factors, as well as other factors, tangible and intangible, were taken into consideration. In addition, ASI wants to keep its prices in line with those of the original SI Training Course, from which the ASI course is adapted.

    The current prices reflect ASI’s costs for the one-time licensing fee, the editing/adaptation expenses, ongoing royalty payments, CD production and distribution costs, and compensation for the Course Administrator and Exam Markers.

    Some of these costs could change; therefore, prices may change.

  • Is the ASI Training In Indexing course available to indexers outside the United States?Our agreement with the Society of Indexers (SI) limits the marketing of the ASI course to ASI members and other indexers residing in the United States of America, its territories and protectorates, and other ASI members, wherever they might reside.
  • How does ASI’s Training In Indexing course relate to other courses conducted by indexing societies?At present, SI and ASI are the only societies with a formalized indexing training course. ASI has adapted the SI Training Course (excluding its actual examinations), and the ASI course is comparable in all respects except one: ASI did not license SI’s business unit (Unit D) because it was inappropriate for U.S. indexers. Thus, indexers passing all exams of the ASI course should consider themselves comparable in indexing knowledge and skills to their British and SI counterparts.
  • What is the history of the ASI Training In Indexing course?In June 2003, the first tentative steps in developing formalized, distance-learning opportunities for ASI members took place. Topics (from basic indexing to specific subject areas) were identified and some preliminary explorations begun. In September 2003, the Society of Indexers (SI) offered their updated Training Course to indexing societies worldwide. This provided ASI with the opportunity to adopt an established and well-respected course for its own members. In early Spring 2004, the ASI Board had the opportunity, in person, to review the interactive CD course and question the SI Training Course liaison and demonstrator. The Board authorized Enid Zafran to conduct negotiations to license and adapt the material for U.S. use. The license agreement between ASI and SI was signed in May 2005.

    The ASI Training Committee (F. Lennie, chair; E. Zafran, Board liaison; S. Maislin; and K. Schlembach) has overall responsibility for adapting the course, establishing administrative infrastructure, and reviewing course operations. The licensed units (A, B, & C) of SI’s Training Course were edited for ASI use by two ASI member volunteers during the Winter of 2004/2005 and were approved by SI prior to the signing of the agreement in May 2005. Preparation of the electronic files for the CD version are in final revision. The infrastructure to administer the program has been outlined and broad agreement has been reached with ASI’s management company, The Resource Center for Associations (RC). In the latter half of 2005 and early 2006, the Training Committee (a) prepared an updated budget for the 2006 financial year; (b) prepared the job descriptions for a Course Administrator and Exam Markers; (c) solicited applicants for the above-named positions; (d) appointed and began training successful candidates; and (e) is establishing procedures with the appointed Course Administrator and is preparing examinations, evaluation procedures, communication, and record-keeping.

Revised 12-08-2008 (SM)