Indexing Courses and Workshops

Indexing Courses and Workshops

Jump to: Courses | Workshops/Seminars

Don't forget that the ASI Annual Meetings always include workshops, and ASI Chapters have regular meetings that often include workshops or presentations, providing you with yet another opportunity for professional development. For more information on indexing as a viable profession, please see So you want to be an indexer? by Janet Perlman.



ASI Training Course in Indexing—The Second Edition of the ASI Training Course in Indexing is now available to ASI members. ASI's distance-learning course, delivered via a dedicated course website, allows comprehensive learning and practice with the touch of a button. Beginning indexers, people experiencing career changes, information workers, editors, and writers will benefit from this course.

The course, adapted under license from the British Society of Indexers' prestigious and well-established distance-learning course, offers

  • self-paced learning through four modules
  • comprehensive coverage of all aspects of indexing and related activities
  • descriptions from experienced indexers on how they work
  • practical self-assessment exercises to prepare you for real-world indexing projects
  • interactive exercises to test your understanding of what you have studied
  • content based on International Standard (ISO 999) guidelines and Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, recommendations

Each module takes approximately 40–50 hours of study and practice. On completion of each module, students must pass an examination to move to the next module. To qualify for the Certificate of Completion in Indexing Training from ASI, candidates must complete all four modules and pass their associated examinations within a four-year period.

For more information, please refer to the overview and FAQs found on this site.

The Business of Indexing—This self-study course from ASI covers the essentials of starting and running a freelance business.

The Business of Indexing module was developed for ASI by Kate Mertes and Enid L. Zafran, two highly successful indexers. Every indexer, whether starting out or long-established, will find business tips that they can immediately put to use, along with sample documents and forms that can be used as models for personal use. For new indexers, this course complements the formal ASI Training in Indexing Course by providing crucial information not included in that course. For experienced indexers, it serves as a valuable refresher and source of new ideas.

The course illustrates two different business models: Kate runs her business as a solo practitioner from her home, while Enid’s business is based outside her home and routinely uses subcontractors. Each author provides a full description of her business, and this open sharing of details enables you to compare your business arrangements and strategies with theirs and take away ideas that can be readily implemented. The authors' comments are supplemented by tips from other well-known indexers, which add scope and perspective to the module.

The course content includes:

  • Business basics
  • Financial management and budgeting
  • Equipment and office set-up
  • Getting work
  • Contracts and negotiations with clients
  • Logistics of setting up a job and dealing with authors
  • Time management
  • File management and security
  • Subcontracting
  • Getting paid
  • Professional development
  • Self-test: an open-book assessment of your learning

The Module is no longer available to purchase, however, for those who had previously purchased it, the module is available as a PDF file here.

Listen to the recording of the Webinar held to discuss the Business of Indexing program.

View Testimonials

The Graduate School, formerly part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, operated a self study course that was one of the leading sources of training on indexing in the U.S. from the 1970s through 2013. The courses were developed and taught by professional indexers, and allowed students to progress at their own speed, working at home. Effective 2014, the indexing courses are no longer being offered.

Graduate School
Phone: (888) 744-4723
Fax: (866) 329-4723

More information about the course is available at

Society for Technical Communication publishes a book called In-House Training in Technical Communication, designed to help bridge the gap between practicing communication and teaching it. Chapters include articles on adult learning theory, course design and delivery, distance training, and sample courses. This book is available at a discount to STC members.

STC (703) 522-4114, or e-mail

University of California Berkeley—Indexing: Theory and Application (online learning course) is now open for student enrollment. The course is designed for those interested in becoming freelance indexers for publishers, business corporations, and technical companies, as well as for non-fiction and technical writers who want to index their own work. This online course conveys three college credit hours. There are no prerequisites, but students should have strong language, reading, computer, and internet skills. The instructors for the course are long-time indexers Sylvia Coates (who designed the course), Heather Ebbs, Lucie Haskins, Fred Leise, Max McMaster, and Jan Wright.

For course details, review the course syllabus.
For enrollment information, visit:

Courses in Graduate Schools of Information and Library Science: Many programs in which students work towards their Master's Degrees in Information Science and/or Library Science offer classes in indexing. Other relevant classes in cataloging, classification, and information retrieval may also be of interest to indexers.


Workshops/Seminars and Programs

Hedden Information Management offers a 5-lesson online course "Taxonomies and Controlled Vocabularies," which is an updated version of a 5-week online workshop previously offered through the former continuing education program of Simmons College School of Library and Information Science. Topics include: types and applications of controlled vocabularies, wording of terms and their variants, hierarchical structure and term relationships, and software. Student access to various taxonomy management software is provided. Instructor feedback on course assignments and other questions is offered for up to 2 months.

Heather Hedden
Hedden Information Management
98 East Riding Drive
Carlisle, MA 01741
Tel. 978-467-5195

Indexing Books as a Career MOOC is a free 8-hour introductory indexing course: This free MOOC, which opened for registration in September 2016, provides an introduction to indexing and is not intended to be a comprehensive indexing course and will not prepare anyone to work as a professional indexer. Instead, it is intended to educate editors, authors, and other interested parties about indexing and working as an indexer.

Indexing Boot Camp offers personalized training by Enid Zafran of Indexing Partners, LLC, intended for

  • New Indexers
  • Who have taken introductory courses
  • And Who want to upgrade to the next level in indexing skills and knowledge.

This three-day training -- offered either on Zoom or in person in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware – is scheduled to provide one-on-one from an expert indexer. Contact Enid at and see the website for more information about Enid and Indexing Partners.

Institute of Certified Indexers (ICI) offers indexers the opportunity to gain professional certification. When hiring an indexer with certification from ICI, a client can be assured that the certified indexer has (1) demonstrated a significant level of skill, familiarity with indexing techniques, and ability to produce high-quality indexes; and (2) continued to stay current in the field by a commitment to ongoing learning. A contest is also held annually by ICI for newer indexers and provides valuable detailed feedback of each submission.


Susan Holbert, Indexing Services offers a 3-cassette video of an actual day-long workshop.


  • how to index—all you need to know to get started.
  • how to find clients and negotiate fees—a great motivator.


  • an easy-to-use 30-page reference booklet.
  • sample résumés and networking information.
  • unlimited free telephone support!

For more info

  • call toll-free to discuss whether indexing would be a good choice for you.
  • take an informative quiz, "Is Indexing For You?" at our Web site.

Susan Holbert, Indexing Services
24 Harris Street
Waltham, MA 02452
Tel. (toll-free): (877) 408-7299

Susan Holbert, Indexing Services also offers a 2-day technical indexing workshop called How to Index User Manuals and Online Help. This workshop is geared toward technical writers who want to improve their indexing skills and practicing indexers who want to index for hi-tech companies. To attend a public seminar or schedule an in-house workshop:

Susan Holbert, Indexing Services
24 Harris Street
Waltham, MA 02452
Tel. (toll-free): (877) 408-7299

Index West (Olympia, WA), the freelance indexing business of Kari Kells, offers classes in the Olympia–Seattle area, as well as self-paced individual tutorials.

The National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services (NFAIS) offers occasional seminars. For more information...

National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services (NFAIS)
1518 Walnut Street
Suite 307
Philadelphia PA 19102-3403
Tel: (215) 893-1561
Fax: (215) 893-1564

Sherry L. Smith Indexing Services (Bend and Eugene, OR) offers indexing classes and workshops, as well as self-paced individual tutorials. In the classes, you will learn about the basics of back-of-the-book indexing with an emphasis on text analysis. The workshops are designed for advanced and intermediate indexers who want to improve their skills and learn from other indexers. The one-to-one tutorials are designed for the person who wants to learn about back-of-the-book indexing and prefers individual instruction.

The Society for Technical Communication (STC) occasionally sponsors two-day workshops, "Indexing Skills for Technical Communicators." This workshop gives writers and indexers basic training needed to develop user-oriented, quality indexes: analytical skills, attention to detail, familiarity with standards and guidelines. These follow a step-by-step approach with hands-on activities.

STC Office
9401 Lee Highway
Suite 300
Fairfax, Virginia 22031
Tel: (703) 522-4114
Fax: (703) 522-2075