Course FAQ

ASI Training in Indexing
Frequently Asked Questions


  1. 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
  2. What is the current status of the ASI Training in Indexing course?
    The second American edition of 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
  3. What content is included in the ASI Training in Indexing course?
    Module A: Introducing Indexing: Indexers, Users, and Documents
    Introduction to the function and characteristics of indexes and how indexers work.

    • basic indexing terminology
    • index functions and characteristics
    • users of documents and indexes
    • characteristics of indexers
    • the indexing process
    • authors and other document originators
    • document creation and production

    Module B: Choosing the Words: Term selection and formation and arrangement of main headings and subheadings
    More detailed guidance on the intellectual processes involved in indexing.

    • identifying and selecting topics for indexing
    • identifying kinds and forms of headings
    • forming headings and subheadings
    • learning how cross-references indicate relationships and assist searching
    • presenting entries: word-by-word versus letter-by-letter sorting

    Module C: Names and Numbers: Sorting Order, Proper Names, and Locators
    The principles of index arrangement and handling of proper names and locators.

    • identifying different ways in which index entries can be arranged
    • learning principal rules govering index arrangement
    • identifying when multiple indexes may be required
    • indexing proper names
    • showing how locators are presented

    Module D: Finishing Touches and Beyond: Index presentation, specialized forms and applications
    Book and journal productions and specialized applications of indexing.

    • summarizing the process of book and journal indexing
    • indicating how a finished index may be presented
    • introducing the basic techniques of embedded indexing
    • overview of website indexing and other specialized forms and applications
    • considering the requirements of team and cumulative indexing
  4. How much time is needed to complete the course?
    Each module takes approximately 40–50 hours of study and is based on International Standards and guidelines. The minimum amount of time needed to complete the course is five months. There is a limit of 4 years for completion of the course as a whole. A six-month extension may be allowed at the discretion of the Course Administrator. It is anticipated that most students will complete the program within 12–18 months.
  5. How is ASI membership linked to the ASI Training in Indexing course?
    At present only ASI members may take the course.
  6. How much does it cost to take the ASI Training in Indexing course?
    Beginning with the second edition of the Course, the price of each module includes one exam. (All exams were billed separately in the previous edition.) Exam retakes are billed separately as noted below. Prices for the course and exam retakes are:
    MODULE A ($150)
    Exam retakes ($50)

    MODULE B ($150)
    Exam retakes ($70)

    MODULE C ($175)
    Exam retakes ($90)

    MODULE D ($200)
    Exam retakes ($100)

    BASIC COST FOR COURSE: $675, plus exam retakes as required.

  7. Can I receive a refund if I decided not to take the course?
    Students may request a refund of a Module registration fee within 30 days of receipt of website login information for that Module, provided that the Exam for that Module has not been ordered. When a refund is issued, password access to the Course website is cancelled, and the student is disenrolled from the Course.
  8. I am already enrolled in the First Edition of the Course. How can I transition to the new Course?
    Different options for transitioning to the second edition of the course are available, depending on your status within the current course. See the Transition Plan for details.
  9. I hold a Certificate of Completion from the ASI course. Is it possible for me to have access to the new materials?
    Former students with a Certificate of Completion may register for a "refresher option" for a reduced fee of $175. This option provides access to all four Course Modules online for a period of one year from purchase but does not include course exams. (Current ASI membership is required.) For more information, please email or call (480) 245-6750.
  10. How do the exams work?
    On completion of each module of study, and when you feel you are ready (each module contains self-assessment exercises to evaluate your preparedness for the exam), you may download the examination paper from the Module home page on the Course website, and send the completed exam to the Exam Administrator by email. The Exam Administrator assigns the exam to an Exam Marker and coordinates 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 submitted to the Exam Administrator within a set time after downloading of the exam (2 weeks for Module A, 3 weeks for Module B, 4 weeks for Module C, and 6 weeks for Module D). If you do not pass the exam the first time, you may purchase an Exam Retake for that module through the Online Store. You may retake exams once for Module A, and twice each for Modules B, C. and D, waiting at least one month from the day you receive your fail result to submit the retake exam. If you do not pass within the allowed number of retakes, you may be asked to discontinue the course.

    Upon successful completion of the exams for all four modules, you will be awarded a Certificate of Completion.

  11. What is the content of each examination?
    You will be tested on your acquisition of knowledge and practical skills presented in each module, as well as information learned in previous modules. 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 and cumulative as you move from the first to the fourth exam. The content on which you might be examined is outlined in the answer to FAQ III.
  12. 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.
  13. 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 module's content. This feedback will be passed on to you by the Exam Administrator along with your notification of passing or failing the module.
  14. Can I contest my scores on exams?
    If you receive a failing score 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).
  15. 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.
  16. How were the 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, and with other training programs available in the U.S.The current prices reflect ASI's costs for the one-time licensing fee, the editing/adaptation expenses, ongoing royalty payments, and compensation for the Course administrators and Exam Markers.

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

  17. Is the ASI Training in Indexing course available to indexers outside the United States?
    Any ASI member, regardless of physical location, is eligible to take the ASI Course. Our agreement with the Society of Indexers (SI) restricts the marketing of the ASI course to ASI members and other indexers residing in the United States of America and its territories and protectorates, and to ASI members wherever they reside.
  18. 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. The Second Edition of the ASI Training course is an adaptation of the Fourth Edition of the SI Training Course (excluding its actual examinations), and it is comparable in all respects to the SI Course. Thus, indexers passing all exams of the ASI course should consider themselves comparable in indexing knowledge and skills to their British and SI counterparts.
  19. What is the history of the ASI Training in Indexing course?
    In September 2003, the Society of Indexers (SI) offered their Training in Indexing Course, 3rd Edition, to affiliated indexing societies worldwide for adaptation and use by their members. This provided ASI with the opportunity to adopt an established and well-respected course for its own members. The Board authorized Enid Zafran to conduct negotiations to license and adapt the material for U.S. use, and a license agreement between ASI and SI was signed in May 2005, allowing adaptation of Units A - C for use by an American audience.The ASI Training Committee was assigned overall responsibility for adapting the course, establishing administrative infrastructure, and reviewing course operations. Over the course of 18 months, the materials were adapted for an American audience and converted to CD-ROM for distribution. The first American course officially launched in November 2006, and the first Certificates of Completion were awarded in 2007. Ongoing technical difficulties with the CD-based course were resolved in May 2011 with the move of the original CD content to the ASI website.

    In 2010 SI released the 4th Edition of its course, containing a substantial amount of new and updated content that is now arranged in four modules. SI once again offered it for use by affiliated indexing societies. After careful review of the changes, the Board approved adoption of the upgraded course by ASI. The adaptation process took approximately two years to achieve, and the Second American Edition was released in April 2013. Distribution of the new edition is via a dedicated Training Course website.

Revised 04-12-2013 (CGW)