New ASI special interest groups reflect new indexing directions and technologies

Wheat Ridge, CO (May 30, 2008)Taxonomies, controlled vocabularies, database indexing and periodical indexing. These areas of indexing and indexing-related services are increasingly being reflected in the membership of the American Society for Indexing (ASI) as the professional organization expands its interests beyond traditional back-of-the-book indexing. In keeping with the philosophy of ASI's name change from the American Society of Indexers to the American Society for Indexing, the ASI board officially approved two new special interested groups (SIGs): the Taxonomies & Controlled Vocabularies SIG and the Periodical & Database Indexing SIG.

Formation of these two new SIGs has been close to a year in the works. The idea originally came from members attending ASI's 40th anniversary meeting in Philadelphia in June 2007. There, the founders of ASI explained how the professional organization got started among indexers of the New York Times—periodical indexers—not back-of-the-book indexers. Hearing about this, some ASI members decided to start the new Periodical & Database Indexing SIG. Meanwhile, other indexers were finding that they were getting calls about freelance work in controlled vocabularies and taxonomies and discussed how they could better support each other and refer work projects. While a combined SIG for all these areas was considered, it was decided that two separate SIGs would better serve the diverse needs of the members. The SIGs each started online discussion groups in fall 2007, drafted mission statements, obtained signatures and submitted requests to the ASI board for approval in late 2007. The approval process was lengthened by a few more months pending ASI board review of the SIG guidelines and policies. The board gave final approval at the annual meeting held in April this year in Denver, Colorado.

The Periodical & Database Indexing SIG is for those individuals with an interest or background in indexing periodicals (either individual publications or collections that are part of a database) and database indexing, which includes not only periodical articles but also reference book articles, short monographs such as pamphlets, image files and other media. Members may be either freelancers, on the staff of publishing companies or database vendors. The SIG's founder and current manager is Linda Dunn, an experienced indexer specializing in film journal indexing. The SIG's Yahoo discussion group is "periodical_indexing." A web site is also being planned.

The Taxonomies & Controlled Vocabularies SIG is for those in the indexing profession who are involved in creating or editing taxonomies, thesauri, or controlled vocabularies used for indexing. Members may be either as freelancers/consultants or employees of companies that develop taxonomies or controlled vocabularies for externally offered information sources. The SIG's founder and current manager is Heather Hedden, currently a taxonomist at Viziant Corporation and formerly a controlled vocabulary editor at Gale (Cengage Learning). The SIG's Yahoo discussion group is "taxonomies." It also has a web site:

Both SIGs seek to function as forums for networking, referrals and sources of advice among their members with shared professional interests. The SIGs also seek to promote their members’ services and a better understanding of the indexing profession to the wider publishing and information industries. Promoting presentations or panels at the ASI conferences and publishing articles and reviews in Key Words on the SIGs’ areas of interest are other activities the SIGs hope to pursue.

Membership in either SIG is restricted to members of ASI or its affiliated indexing societies in other countries. Membership in ASI and these other indexing societies is open not only to practicing indexers but to anyone with a professional interest in the field of indexing.

About American Society for Indexing The American Society for Indexing is a national association founded to promote excellence in indexing and to increase awareness of the value of well-written, well-designed indexes. ASI holds an annual conference, offers myriad member benefits and provides education and networking opportunities to individuals and organizations. Further information about ASI and indexing is available at and by phone at (480) 245-6750.