ASI 2022 Conference Program

2022 Conference Program

The Future of Indexing: A Mix of Art & Technology

April 29–30, 2022

This meeting was held virtually via Zoom.

Sessions are one hour, followed by a 15-minute break, unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, April 28

Pre-Conference New Indexers Workshop with Fred Leise

Friday, April 29

10:00 AM, Pacific / 1:00 PM, Eastern
Index, A History of the: a history of the index to. Paula Clarke Bain

Dennis Duncan’s latest book—Index, A History of the—was published in the United States by W.W. Norton in February 2022, first released in the United Kingdom in September 2021. The book charts the curious path of the index from European monasteries and universities in the thirteenth century to Silicon Valley in the twenty-first. It has two indexes: an automated one by computer program and a professional index by Paula Clarke Bain.

In this session, Paula will be talking about the book, its index(es) and the working partnership between author and indexer, including:

  • author–indexer relations: collaboration and communication between
  • indexers: humour, neutrality, personality, and snark of
  • indexes: by computers versus human professionals
  • metaness: of creating an index to a book about book indexes
  • responses and reviews: by critics and readers
  • syndrome, imposter: and how and whether she has handled it.

11:15 AM, Pacific / 2:15 PM, Eastern
Where Do You Fit? The Art of Indexing in the Age of Automation. Joshua Tallent

The publishing process is constantly changing, and with those changes comes the fear that certain elements of the process, like indexing, will be sidelined or even disappear. Joshua Tallent will return to the (virtual) stage nine years after his last appearance at the ASI conference to talk about how the publishing industry is changing, the challenges you will continue to face as indexers, and the opportunities that are likely to present themselves in the future.

This presentation will include a little bit of history, some thoughts on process and workflow, and probably even some questionable prognostication. In the end, you should walk away more knowledgeable, more challenged, and hopefully at least slightly encouraged about the future.

12:15 PM, Pacific / 3:15 PM, Eastern
30-minute BREAK

12:45 PM, Pacific / 3:45 PM, Eastern
Marketing for the Successful Solo Practice. John Coe 90-minute session
Marketing guru John Coe explains how solo practitioners can find, sell, and grow business using savvy targeting marketing. Identifying the appropriate contact is half the battle, but how do you actually connect in a memorable, professional way—especially when you would much rather be indexing? John will cover the four important elements of successful marketing campaigns. They are:

  1. How to identify the correct person—the most important element
  2. What offers interest and sell new clients
  3. Why communicating by blending email, mail, and phone is best
  4. How to write copy that engages and sells

John will also cover methods for building relationships and loyalty. An added feature will be a white paper covering this presentation for those attending, which helps prevent hand cramps from taking notes and allows you to listen attentively.

2:30 PM, Pacific / 5:30 PM, Eastern
Laying the Ground for the Future: Improving Your Index Editing Process. Fred Leise
Designed for both beginners and experienced indexers, this presentation will cover the steps in a simple yet exhaustive index editing process that helps focus your editing work without hours of unnecessary “index churn.” Most importantly, you will see a number of before and after views of portions of indexes that demonstrate some editing best practices.

In this one-hour session, you will:

  • Review the steps in one possible index editing process
  • Learn editing actions that help improve multiple features of your index
  • Better understand how to properly tighten your overall index structure

3:45 PM, Pacific / 6:45 PM, Eastern
Grab your favorite libation and come chat with your fellow indexers. Make a new friend. Celebrate the wonder of indexing by sharing a fun story about a recent project. Come relax and chat!

Saturday, April 30

10:00 AM, Pacific / 1:00 PM, Eastern
Indexing the Metatopic—Bridging the Gap Across the Pond. Melanie Gee

The metatopic can be a tricky thing to index and will give even the most experienced indexers pause for thought from time to time. Practices in the US and the UK are often caricatured as downright contradictory: always index the metatopic comprehensively, or never index the metatopic (or if you must, only sparsely). Who is right? As with all things indexing, there is no "one size fits all" approach. Drawing from published literature, her own reflections as a "metatopic muser" and short surveys of indexing practices from both sides of the pond, Melanie will explore some alternative approaches to indexing different types of metatopic to create something that we can all agree is important: indexes that are user-friendly.

11:15 AM, Pacific / 2:15 PM, Eastern
Indexing Children’s Books: The Future Is Now! Connie Binder

Children’s books are great fun to read, but do present some unique indexing challenges. This session will explore the art of indexing children’s books, including term selection, index size and depth, avoiding over/underindexing, and the use (or not) of cross-references, double-posting, and subentries. It will also cover the business aspects of indexing children’s books—getting jobs, keeping overhead low, and ensuring job security by creating lifelong index users.

12:15 PM, Pacific / 3:15 PM, Eastern
30-minute BREAK

12:45 PM, Pacific / 3:45 PM, Eastern
Using a Classic to Create a Contemporary Masterpiece: “On upcycling last edition’s index to create the index for a new edition”. Maria Sullivan

As indexers, we’re often requested to create an index for a subsequent edition of a publication. Sometimes the client specifically asks us to base the index for the new edition on the index for the previous edition. Other times it’s just obvious that reusing that material would be a great savings in time and effort, especially with assignment deadlines getting shorter and shorter.

This session will touch on topics related to reusing that index, such as the pros and cons of reusing vs. indexing from scratch, managing client expectations, workflow processes, and maintaining (or even improving) quality. Please note that because of time constraints, this session will only focus on what’s involved after the existing index is imported to your indexing software and will center discussion on creative ways to manipulate the existing index data to save you time and keystrokes. We’ll explore at least three methods to consider for using a prior edition’s index, along with some of the potential pitfalls to consider in the process.

2:00 PM, Pacific / 5:00 PM, Eastern
EPUB is Essential—It's for far more than just trade books. Bill Kasdorf; Caroline Desrosiers, CEO and Founder, Scribely

EPUB—and specifically, the latest version of it, EPUB 3—has become the virtually universal format for providing trade and scholarly books as ebooks. Rather than displacing print, it has come to complement it. Almost all publishers of trade and scholarly books now provide them as EPUBs, and almost all retailers and aggregators, even Amazon, either prefer or require that ebooks be provided to them as EPUB 3. What is less well known is that EPUB has become essential in higher education as well.

A fundamental reason for this shift: EPUB 3 has become the standard format for accessibility. It is based on the same web technologies that accessibility standards are, which are designed to enable content to be accessible to people with visual, physical, or cognitive disabilities like blindness, low vision, and dyslexia. If EPUBs are properly structured and coded, they can be "born accessible." Those born accessible EPUBs are better for everybody.

One core principle of accessibility is that the full functionality of the print book should be provided by the ebook. What are the most glaring omissions? The indexes and image descriptions. There is no reason this needs to continue to be the case.

With regard to indexes, proper EPUBs have what are called page break markers in the HTML to mark where each page in the print book begins, and which provide the page numbers; the metadata has a required property for identifying the exact print edition to which the page break markers correspond. Many EPUB 3s created today have those features already. Publishers just need to link the locators in the index to those page break markers—and some actually do. This should become a standard requirement. I include it in all the specifications I provide.

EPUBs often lack image descriptions too, and even when they have alt text, it's rarely done properly. The reason is that the description isn't just what an image is a picture of; it needs to convey to a print disabled user what the image conveys to a sighted user. Indexers would be ideal writers of image descriptions, because the task requires what indexers are good at: analyzing and understanding the content, and then expressing what it is about at a granular level. In this presentation, Caroline Desrosiers of Scribely, an image description expert, will discuss the principles of writing good alt text and extended descriptions, with concrete examples that will make it clear why we say indexers would be ideal for providing this additional service to publishers—and they need it!

Your conference registration includes all eight sessions. Each session will be followed by a 15-minute break or networking time. There will be a longer break in mid-program. The program is subject to change without notice. To ensure you receive the meeting link, please register no later than 5 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, April 27.

Please note: This virtual event will be presented live via Zoom, and the sessions will be recorded. However, in order to encourage open participation, the Q&A at the end of each session will not be recorded. Just as with an in-person event, attendees will be able to ask questions by (electronically) raising their hands or by asking questions in the chat box. Please understand that the quality of the live presentation may be lower for viewers with slower internet connections. Recordings will be available for one year following the event for those who register. No refunds can be given after April 22, 2022.

Registration has closed.