February 2010

Kate Mertes

February 2010

I don’t normally associate Minnesota with thoughts of spring, but as a blizzard wails outside my house (already encased in hip-deep snow), threatening to dump yet another foot or more of the white stuff, I am thinking longingly of the forsythia and daffodils that will be blooming in Minneapolis-St. Paul as we arrive for ASI’s conference, May 13–15. And lo and behold, what should I find in my emailbox but an announcement that ONLINE REGISTRATION AND PROGRAM DETAILS are now available at ASI’s website! Fran Lennie has put together a really exciting and innovative program, and Expedia and Southwest as well as other airlines have some really competitive fares available. Get through the winter blues by signing up for an indexers’ spring delight. Meanwhile, read on to find out more about what’s doing with ASI. It will relieve your cabin fever.
Lower Hotel Rates for Minneapolis: Our conference hotel has just offered ASI lower rates! Standard rooms will be available for $105, Executive Suites at $125, Concierge Suites at $135, and bilevel suites at $185. These are fantastic savings and a great price for city center rooms.
ASI Statistics: Our end-of-the-year financial statement had lots of good news. We have ended the year with a higher surplus than budgeted, our investments and cash in hand are both healthy, and our overall assets are up about 15% from last year—very impressive in the midst of a recession. This will allow us to spend more on publicity and publisher outreach, areas we know indexers think are important and which have suffered in our leaner years. We’re at this point because of the hard work of our management team and Richard Shrout, our treasurer. Our membership is solid—we’ve retained our overall numbers and renewals are coming in a bit faster than last year. Again, this is extremely good news in a recession.
NFAIS Conference: If you’re looking for a getaway in late February, you might want to consider the NFAIS conference in Philadelphia, February 28 through March 2. The conference is entitled “Redefining the Value of Information: Exploring the New Equation,” and will focus on the measures information seekers now use to define information value and why these measures are important to them. We as indexers deal every day with publishers who have to justify the money they spend on publications, so understanding how information adds value to product is crucial for indexers. If anyone from ASI attends, I’m sure Judy Reveal, editor of Key Words, would be glad to publish a précis of your experiences.
From the Land Down Under: I recently received a copy of the ANZSI newsletter from the Australia and New Zealand Society of Indexers, which contained reviews of sessions at its recent conference this past autumn. Americans were there in force! Noeline Bridge, a Canadian indexer who many of you will have met at ASI conferences, spoke about the perils and pleasures of indexing names (Noeline is also hard at work editing a publication for ASI on names, sure to be a valuable contribution to your bookshelf). Richard Shrout, our treasurer, spoke about learning styles and indexing methods, a talk I believe he is refining for the Minneapolis conference—the reviewer called it the most enjoyable session he attended. Kay Schlembach spoke on indexing the metatopic, Fran Lennie discussed the visual appeal of indexes, and Jan Wright presented the final session on the future of indexing.
e-Conferencing: Carolyn Weaver tells me that the Medical Library Association is offering an e-conference package for those who can’t attend in person. Since ASI is exploring the possibility of setting up Webinars and also is frequently asked for recordings of conference sessions (which are usually too costly for us to undertake), Carolyn is going to sign up for the e-conference and will report back on how it worked.
From the Land Down Under #2: ASAIB, the South African indexing society, has just announced its 2010 conference, which will take place in May. The topic is “The Indexer in Publication,” and ASAIB is still accepting proposals for conference sessions through March 18. Suggested topics include indexing in context, indexes of old, small publishers, big publishers, academic publishers, the right to access information and copyright, what to index and what not, automatic indexing, journal indexing, and evaluation of indexes. Please address inquiries to Madeleine Burger at burgem@unisa.ac.za, or Madely du Preez at preezm@unisa.ac.za.
Education options: The Graduate School, a career-focused learning community with both distance and face-to-face programs, is now offering classes in basic and applied indexing, as well as a class on “Introduction to the Editing Process,” the curriculum of which contains sessions on indexing from a publisher’s point of view. I do not personally know anything about The Graduate School or its academic credentials, but it’s interesting to note that the growing online and adult education business has some solid offerings in indexing.
Publicity and Outreach: Leoni McVey, our publicity chair, has been encouraging ASI members to attend professional conferences as a way of reaching publishers and authors in specific fields—you may remember reading her article about this in a recent issue of Key Words. Well, Loraine Schacher, an indexer and ASI member from San Diego, recently applied Leoni’s ideas to the American Historical Association. With backing from ASI and the History & Archaeology SIG, Loraine attended the January 8 meeting of the AHA in San Diego, where she handed out brochures and specially made-up business cards at booksellers’ and publishers’ booths. She spoke to as many people as she could and made contact with 10 actual editors responsible for indexing decisions. Bravo, Loraine! If there’s a conference in your hometown you’d like to attend, or one out of town that you think would benefit from having an ASI member in attendance, contact Leoni, your SIG, and/or ASI, and we’ll do all we can to make it a successful effort. H’mm, are there any good conferences in Puerto Rico right now? Anywhere it’s not snowing!
Kate Mertes, President, ASI