Our Distinguished Speakers

ASI 2017 Conference—Speaker Biographies

Nan Badgett
Nan Badgett, dba Wordability, has been providing freelance indexing services to publishers, authors, and corporate clients since 1992. Her work is focused on trade books and textbooks in a wide range of subjects, including health and nutrition, sports training, and education. Nan is the author of The Accidental Indexer and has contributed to several ASI books. She has presented at past ASI conferences and has served the organization at both the chapter and national levels.

Connie Binder
Connie Binder has been a freelance indexer since 1998. A generalist, she indexes a wide variety of subject matter, and has a particular passion for biographies, U.S. history, music, and sports books. She is a past chair of the Mid and South Atlantic chapter and a past ASI Board member.

Meghan Miller Brawley
Meghan Miller Brawley is currently a Managing Partner at Potomac Indexing, LLC (PI). In addition to indexing, her responsibilities include project management and working with multiple associate indexers. She came to indexing after an initial career in public libraries and university archives. Her indexing areas for both scholarly and trade audiences, includes history, political science, literature, self help, and consumer technology. Meghan's service to ASI includes past chair of the Mid and South Atlantic chapter, proofreader of Key Words, member of the Training on Indexing Committee, and national Board member.

Maya Bringe
Maya Bringe is a freelance indexer and project manager. She has been indexing since 2009 and added project management to her business offerings in 2013. She has extensive experience working with OUP production through a third-party packager.

Sylvia Coates
Sylvia Coates has been working as a freelance indexer since 1989 and has taught indexing since 1999. In 2004 she developed, and is currently one of several instructors for, the University of California, Berkeley Extension, online Indexing: Theory and Application course. Sylvia continues to happily index and live in the San Francisco Bay Area with her non-indexer husband. More information on Sylvia's work, including downloadable articles and the UCB Extension Indexing: Theory and Application course and free Indexing as a Career MOOC links, are available here.

Steve Csipke
Steve Csipke has more than 25 years of experience in indexing, publishing, and technical communications, and he has an MSLS (cataloging and academic libraries specialties) and an MA in technical communications. Steve’s indexing experience includes print book, embedded, and periodical indexes for a range of trade and scholarly publications, working with editors and authors. He has also worked online with XML and database indexes. Steve is a past president of the New England Chapter of ASI.

Lisa DeBoer
Lisa DeBoer has been an indexer since 2010, as owner of DeBoer Indexing and as an associate of Colleen Dunham Indexing. She has an MA in women’s history and an MLS in library and information science, and completed the UC Berkeley course in Indexing: Theory and Application. A generalist in the humanities and social sciences, with specializations in women’s studies, history, LGBT studies, and race/ethnic studies, Lisa’s indexing experience includes scholarly and trade books, as well as database indexing of public policy journals and periodicals for Public Affairs Information Service, Inc. (PAIS). Lisa has been President of the Western New York Chapter of ASI since 2013 and lives in Ithaca, NY. She has two children, ages 7 and 22. Her eldest teaches English in Japan, and her youngest is in the first grade.

Sherri Dietrich
I live in Waldoboro, Maine, with my wife, two cats, and 17 chickens. I left my job as a cataloging librarian and became a freelance indexer in 1990 after learning that indexing could be done from home, and have never regretted that decision. I added proofreading and copyediting to fill out slow times in the indexing year and provide a change of pace in my work, but indexing is still my favorite work. I index predominately books, in a wide range of subjects, which is part of what I love about this work—I get paid to read all kinds of books!

Heather Ebbs
Heather Ebbs has prepared everything from one-page indexes for children’s books to multiple-signature annual indexes to medical periodicals in her 37 years as an indexer and editor.

Edee Edwards
Edee L. Edwards received her Master of Science in Library Service at Columbia University and has spent her career in and on the fringes of science, technology, and biomedical libraries. From reference work to electronic resources purchasing to web project management, she’s now spent 10 years with taxonomy in her job title. After being in the Information Technology world for about half of her career, she’s thrilled to once again be associated more directly with a library, having joined the National Fire Protection Association’s Charles S. Morgan Technical Library as their Taxonomy and Metadata Librarian. She’s spoken at several venues over the years, and loves sharing her experiences.

Anne Fifer
Anne Fifer is a freelance indexer providing back-of-book indexing since 2008, and embedded indexing using InDesign and Word Embed. Her education includes DO degree with specialty in neurology and epileptology, and a PhD in psychology. She taught medical terminology courses at a local community college for several years, but has now transitioned to full-time indexing. She served on the committee for writing the Best Practices for Indexing, and currently is on the ASI board of directors as treasurer. Indexing specialties include neuroanatomy, neurosciences, neurology, as well as general medicine, health sciences, and psychology. Other special interests and hobbies that contribute to indexing skills include wine, food, cooking, food science, culinary arts, gardening, organic farming, and apiculture.

Richard Genova
Richard Genova is the owner of Genova Editorial Services and specializes in legal and business indexing. He has been producing indexes to legal, business, and college text books for the last 22 years. Prior to starting his own business, Richard worked for 10 years at the legal publisher Matthew Bender, including as an index manager responsible for the hiring and training of both in-house and freelance indexers. Richard is also a past winner of the ASI/H.W. Wilson Award for his index to Brownfields Law and Practice by Michael B. Gerrard.

Heather Hedden
Heather Hedden is a senior vocabulary editor at Cengage Learning, where she has been editing thesauri from 1996 to 2004 and resuming again in 2014. In the intervening 10 years she worked as a taxonomist in various employed and consulting positions and also did freelance back-of-the-book indexing. Heather teaches an online continuing education workshop on “Taxonomies & Controlled Vocabularies” and an ASI on-demand short course “Practical Taxonomy Creation.” Heather is also author of The Accidental Taxonomist, Indexing Specialties: Web Sites, and chapters in Indexing Names and Index It Right, Volume 2. Heather is a past president of the ASI New England Chapter, a past manager of the ASI Web & Electronic Indexing SIG and the Taxonomies & Controlled Vocabularies SIG, and currently a member of the board of ASI.

Gwen Henson
With more than 20 years of experience in association management and event planning, Gwen Henson has served as the executive director of ASI since 2013. An expert in small press publishing, she edits books, websites, and marketing copy. Her training in journalism makes her well suited to the creation of social media, which isn’t simply about promotion. She has spoken at national publishing conferences, has served as a judge for national book awards, and was awarded the Korwin Award for Visionary Leadership.

Amy Jerome
Amy Jerome is a senior indexing specialist at Gale | Cengage. She holds an MLIS from Wayne State University and an MBA from Eastern Michigan University. She has worked in publishing as an editor and indexer since 1996, with her most recent experience focusing on supplying metadata for higher education instructor and classroom tools.

Chuck Knapp
Chuck Knapp is the Director of Taxonomy & Indexing at Bloomberg BNA, a leading source of legal and regulatory information for attorneys and other professionals. He has been with Bloomberg BNA’s Taxonomy & Indexing department, in metropolitan Washington, DC, for over twenty years. His group produces indexes and applies taxonomy tagging to legal news and reference content across a broad range of legal specialties. Previously, he was the indexer for U.S. Law Week—Supreme Court Today, and he created the index for BNA’s Health Law & Business Series that won the American Association of Law Libraries’ 1997 Best New Product award. He led the BNA usability study of Online Indexes versus text-only searching in 2005. He authored “I Was A Teenage Indexer Taxonomist” about his transformation from indexer to taxonomist, Chapter 3 of Index It Right, Volume 3. He also wrote the chapter on indexing court cases for the book Indexing Specialties: Law.

Sarah Krot
Sarah Krot is a senior indexing specialist at Gale | Cengage, where she started as an associate editor in 2000. She caught the indexing bug and moved to the indexing department in 2003, where she has been working with indexing and metadata ever since. Sarah earned a BA in History from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and an MLIS with a concentration in archival administration from Wayne State University. In her spare time, Sarah listens to the musical Hamilton on repeat and volunteers with her local historical society.

Seth Maislin
Seth Maislin is a principal consultant in taxonomy and information management at Earley Information Science. For more than 20 years he has demonstrated strengths in classification and taxonomy, content modeling, information architecture, search, and usability. He has dedicated the last 10+ years to providing sustaining information management solutions to clients facing real and complex findability challenges. Seth was previously a senior partner with Potomac Indexing and Senior Indexer at O’Reilly Media. He has served as an adjunct educator at different times at Simmons College’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Bentley University’s Information Design and Corporate Communication program, and Middlesex Community College. Seth served as ASI president in 2006-2007.

AElfwine Mischler
Ælfwine Mischler completed the Berkeley indexing course in 2014 and has written indexes for university presses. With a master’s in linguistics and TEFL, she has taught in the United States and in Egypt, but enjoys editing and indexing more. She has copyedited books and websites on Islam, EFL textbooks, and books on Egyptology and Middle East studies. Ælfwine volunteers as the editor of ASI's See Also newsletter, a proofreader of Key Words, and a peer index reviewer. The best copyeditor on the Nile is now trying to become the best indexer on the Nile.

Kendra Millis
Kendra Millis began indexing in 2008, after completing the indexing course offered through UC-Berkeley. She left a career in international education and chose to become a freelancer so she could return to her home state of Maine to raise her daughter. She has served as a Director at large on ASI’s Board of Directors and currently serves as President-Elect. Her educational background is in Russian literature and social philosophy. In addition to her indexing work, she owns a small fiber-related business.

Barbara Mortenson
Barbara Mortenson resides in Maine, and is the owner of Countryside Indexing. A former reference librarian, she now creates back-of-the-book indexes for a wide variety of trade books, specializing in culinary titles. An avid reader of books promoting a healthy lifestyle, her related interests include gardening, diet and nutrition, and holistic therapies. She welcomes all conference-goers to The Way Life Should Be state.

Katharina Munk
Dr. Katharina Munk, a trained biologist, has worked since 1992 as a lecturer, author, editor, and indexer on large projects in biology and medicine. She initiated and has been closely involved in the development of Index Manager (Idx) since its inception. The first version of Index Manager was presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2012. Index Manager is now available from Klarso GmbH and is open to your suggestions and requests for additional features.

Mary Norris
Mary Norris is a writer who lives in New York City. For more than thirty-five years, she worked at The New Yorker, where her job as a copy editor informed her book Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen (Norton), a New York Times best-seller about grammar and usage. And pencils. She is working on a book about Greek and Greece.

Dave Ream
Dave Ream is Leverage Technologies’ chief consultant for publishers. He has a B.S. in Engineering and an M.S. in Computer Science from Case Western Reserve University. Mr. Ream has spent over 40 years working with publishers in the areas of typesetting design and production, database creation, editorial systems, and electronic publication design and production. His current indexing projects center around integrating Indexing Research’s Cindex into corporate and governmental publishing operations including web applications.

Gale Rhoades
Gale Rhoades, in addition to being the North American publisher of the Macrex Indexing Program, is a consultant who specializes in making the use of computers more like toasting bread than rocket science. She developed many of her skills and techniques during the ten years she served as the Executive Director of the nonprofit Fog International Computer Users Group; in addition to coordinating the activities of volunteers and employees there, she was often the teacher who managed to stay just one step ahead of the students. Since 1991 she has been self-employed, working with individuals, small businesses, and municipalities; her client base now extends far beyond the northern California area in which she lives. Indexers, and especially Macrex users, often benefit from her extensive (and freely shared) knowledge of hardware, software, and peripherals. She offers four principles for successful computer usage: try before you buy; backups are only needed when they don’t exist; if you can’t solve a problem in five minutes, seek assistance; and, the only ‘dumb’ question is the one not asked.

Kelli Ann Robertson
Kelli Ann Robertson, CPCC is a professional, certified Life and Career Coach who helps introverts find, embrace, and tap into their own unique superpowers (yes, we all have them!), helping them to “get unstuck” and move forward in a fun and meaningful way. She holds a B.S. in Education from the University of Massachusetts, the CPCC credential from the internationally acclaimed Coaches Training Institute, and considers herself to be both a coach/teacher and a perpetual student of personal development. A proud introvert herself, Kelli happily balances her passions of coaching, family, travel, and “down” time.

Peter Rooney
Peter Rooney is currently the ASI Archivist. His time with ASI goes back to the founding years of the early 1970s. For several crucial years, Rooney was ASI's appointed Executive Secretary under President Barbara Preschel. He is also a programmer/analyst, and has built indexing and cataloguing systems for libraries, museums, and artist foundations. Rooney indexes art books, as well as general-interest trade books.

Cynthia Savage
Cynthia has an M.L.I.S. from the University of South Carolina (1997) and fifteen years’ experience as a school and public librarian. She completed the University of California at Berkeley indexing class in 2013, started indexing, and has not looked back since! She primarily indexes academic and scholarly texts and has a special fondness for film history and analysis titles. She assists with the professional development committee of ASI and regularly explains to non-indexers, "yes, someone actually creates those book indexes."

Kamm Schreiner
Kamm Schreiner is the owner of SKY Software and a graduate of Virginia Tech with a BS in electrical engineering. He has been programming since high school and is the programmer of SKY Index Professional. In his spare time he is an amateur musician and songwriter.

Donna Shear
Donna wrote her first indexes while working as a researcher in the books division of the National Geographic Society in the early 1980s. Over a career of more than 30 years in publishing, she has worked as a researcher, proofreader, editor, and indexer. She holds a Master’s degree in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She received certification as an Archivist at the National Archives and Records Administration. Donna established Chesapeake Indexing and Editorial Services, and she has been a member of ASI since 2007, serving as president of the Mid-and South-Atlantic chapter, co-chair of the committee that produced the ASI Best Practices for Indexing guide, and a judge for the ASI Excellence in Indexing Award. She currently serves as editor of Key Words.

Jennifer Spanier has been a freelance indexer since 2009. She holds a PhD in the Biological Sciences and an MS in Library and Information Science. Her indexing subject specialties include the life sciences, especially plant pathology and physiology, environmental sciences, biography, and social sciences. Format specialties include back-of-the-book and database indexing. She is currently serving ASI as a board member, co-webmaster, and New England Chapter treasurer. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys life on the farm in rural Vermont.

Paul Sweum
Paul R. Sweum, the owner of Top Hat Word & Index out of the Seattle area, provides over 20 years of professional technical communications and writing experience, part of which involves a career as an urban planning professional. He has one foot in publishing, and the other in government documentation. His business blog, The Penny Farthing Commuter, covers industry trends, tech tools, interviews, conferences and other curios. Paul may be found on Twitter @TopHatIndexer….or traveling abroad with his fly fishing rod….or keeping score of a game at a local ballpark.

Maria Sullivan
Maria A. Sullivan has been answering the question “Wait! You have to read the whole book?!!” since 1988. She started her indexing life as part of a 25+ member publishing house indexing department. From the beginning, Cindex was her tool of choice and she became the department’s first “Key User.” In late 1994, Maria became an independent contractor; and has worked closely with Indexing Research ever since training and supporting other users. Maria enjoys a very active indexing career and supplies the insight that only an indexer can for users of indexing software. Maria has also been converting existing indexes (in print or electronic form) to indexing-software-ready-to-use formats since the ‘80s and will be happy to help you out, quickly and cost-effectively.

Maria lives with her husband and daughter in the Bristol Hills of the Finger Lakes region of New York. If you’re in the area touring the vineyards, please drop by for a visit to Blue Flower Farm, where Maria keeps busy making fresh flower arrangements all summer long from the beautiful flowers that her husband grows.

Devon Thomas Devon Thomas DevIndexing.com has been a professional indexer since 2005. A former public and business librarian, she has spent much of her working life involved in the interplay between information and end-users. Devon indexes in a wide range of topics with special interests in education, history, cooking, literature, and reference works. In addition to traditional back-of-the-book and embedded indexing, she has worked on many database indexing projects. She served as an officer of the Heartland Chapter of ASI. She is a frequent panel participant for an indexing course at Wayne State University in Detroit. She has also published articles in Key Words and The Indexer and reviews books for Library Journal. Devon lives in Michigan with the obligatory indexer cat.

Diana Witt
Diana Witt is a longtime freelance indexer who has worked extensively in multiple indexing formats, including embedded and traditional indexing, and online projects. She is currently president of the American Society for Indexing.

Jan Wright
Jan Wright, owner of Wright Information Indexing Services, has been indexing and taxonomizing since 1991. Her experience in technical documentation indexing goes deep, from her experience as a print production specialist in the Aldus Corporation documentation department, her work at Visio Corporation on the development of online help and translated indexes, and her work for several Microsoft departments in indexing, taxonomies, and controlled vocabularies. She has been a member of the American Society for Indexing since 1991, has won several awards from the Society for Technical Communication, and in 2009 won the ASI/H.W. Wilson Award for Excellence in Indexing for her index to Real World Indesign CS3, the first technical manual to win the prestigious award.

Pilar Wyman
Pilar Wyman, Chief Indexer, Wyman Indexing, has been writing indexes as a successful freelancer and consultant for over 25 years, since 1990. She works in public health, clinical medicine, med-tech, and other areas of personal interest. She has published numerous articles and other works on indexing, and routinely gives presentations and workshops (in person and online) as her time allows. She is also a member of the ASI DTTF task force.