See Also—August 2019

August brings the last weeks of summer, and thoughts turn toward the coming school year. For new indexers, the ASI Training Course offers self-paced learning with the opportunity to gain expertise in indexing and start a new career. Read on to learn more.

ASI News
ASI Training in Indexing Course open for registration
Upcoming Chapter Events
Pacific Northwest Chapter Fall 2019 Meeting
Award for New Indexers 2019 Deadline
News from Other Associations
Society of Indexers 2019 Conference
Webinar Review: Taming the Metatopic with Kay Schlembach
Spotlight—Susan Bruck

ASI News

ASI Training in Indexing Course open for registration

The second edition of the ASI Training in Indexing course is open for registration. ASI members can enroll online for Module A: Indexers, Users, and Documents.

Whether you are a beginning indexer seeking professional indexing training, or a seasoned indexer looking to enhance or validate your skill set, the course provides a comprehensive, convenient learning option.

SKY_IndexEach of the four training modules provides self-assessment exercises (with answers) and interactive exercises as you proceed through the material. Study time for each unit is approximately 40–50 hours.

Examinations that test acquired knowledge and indexing skill are taken at the completion of each module. Students must successfully meet the requirements of all four examinations to be awarded an ASI Certificate of Completion.

The Training in Indexing course brochure, containing the full course description, pricing, and application form, can be downloaded from this page as a PDF file or requested from the ASI office. General inquiries should be directed to the Training Course coordinator.

Upcoming Chapter Events

Pacific Northwest Chapter Fall 2019 Meeting

September 13-14, 2019
Friday, September 13, 3:30-5:30
Location: Scott Smiley’s home, Vancouver, WA
Features Q&A discussion for new indexers
Saturday, September 14, 8:30-5:30
Location: SpringHill Marriott, Vancouver, WA

Program includes:

  • Technical Indexes with a Structured Approach
  • Embedding Index Tags in XML Files
  • Client Relationships
  • Bidding and Rates
  • Indexing Comparison Activity

For more details and to download the complete Registration Packet, visit the Pacific Northwest Chapter website.

Award for New Indexers 2019 Deadline

The Sherry Smith Award of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the American Society for Indexing grants $100 to help one new indexer per year attend a PNW fall conference. The 2019 deadline is August 14.

If you are an indexer-in-training, or started indexing recently, this award can help you attend the PNW conference on September 14. The conference topics this year have much to offer a new indexer. Learn more about application for the award here.

News from Other Associations

Society of Indexers 2019 Conference

The Society of Indexers (UK) 2019 Conference will be held September 7-9 at Queen Mary University of London. This year’s themes are investigating, invigorating, and innovating. For detailed information, visit the Society of Indexers website.

Webinar Review: Taming the Metatopic with Kay Schlembach

Editor’s note: See Also will feature regular reviews of ASI webinars and online learning programs to help members discover the most relevant educational resources for their indexing journey.

Meta means “about,” so it follows that the metatopic is the main topic, or overarching theme, of the document being indexed. The concept seems straightforward, but the challenge for indexers is to develop an indexing strategy that avoids:

1) over-indexing the entire document under this single topic,
2) (more problematic) ignoring the metatopic altogether.

KaySchlembachThe first approach would likely result in an unwieldy, ever-growing index, while the latter would produce a weak index that would frustrate users whose first inclination may very well be to search for an entry for the metatopic.

In this one-hour webinar, indexer Kay Schlembach presents targeted strategies for avoiding both scenarios. She demonstrates how indexers can perform a structural analysis that effectively identifies both the metatopic(s) and local main topics, resulting in an index that recreates the pattern of information presented in the text.

Two approaches to term selection are discussed, supported by comprehensive examples (available as PDF downloads) of successful metatopic management from textbooks, scholarly books, and biographical texts (“the original metatopic,” according to Schlembach). Schlembach provides additional tips for editing the final index.

A key takeaway of “Taming the Metatopic” is the importance of audience consideration in this “age of search.” Schlembach points to a usability study from 2000 (i.e., before the era of search engines) that revealed that users unfamiliar with a document’s content will look for a heading that reflects the title of the document. This is particularly true for children, who will, indeed, look for an entry for the metatopic when using an index.

Indexers who learn to wrangle the metatopic work more efficiently and ultimately fulfill their purpose: to build bridges between users and content.

“Taming the Metatopic with Kay Schlembach” is available here.


Our Spotlight this month is Susan Bruck. If you would like to be in the Spotlight, or nominate someone for it, please contact the editor, Roseann Biederman.

Where do you live now? Where are you originally from? Do you share your home with pets or family?

I recently moved to Loveland, Colorado after more than 30 years living in Chicago. I raised my two daughters there, and when they both moved away, I did too.

What is your educational background?

I have a JD and BS in biochemistry from University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. I completed my first two years of college at Washington University, St. Louis. I also studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and did Waldorf teacher training at Arcturus Rudolf Steiner teacher training program. For indexing, I took the Berkeley course and the bootcamp with Enid Zafran.

Do you have any hobbies, travels, volunteer work, or other interesting things to share?

I love to do handwork—especially knit and crochet. I also write and illustrate children’s books and have a blog where I write about nature, poetry, art, meditation, and whatever else strikes my fancy.

What kind of work did you do before you studied indexing? Are you still doing that or other work in addition to indexing?

I worked as a Waldorf early childhood teacher for 20 years—I’m still doing that part-time. I also worked as (and still work as) an artist. I worked as an attorney, as well, many years ago. I worked for Legal Aid, at a legal publishing company, and as a law clerk for a federal judge. I also currently do some editing work.

When did you start indexing? When did you join ASI?

I started indexing almost two years ago and joined ASI a few months later.

For you, what is the best advantage of ASI membership?

There are many. I’ve met some wonderful people through ASI who have become mentors and/or friends. I also have gotten work through my ASI listing and my listing on the Legal SIG.
I enjoyed going to the conference last year (this year it was held right after I moved and was one thing too many). I met lots of people and learned lots of wonderful things. I really enjoyed Fred Leise’s pre-conference workshop!

Did You Know?

The largest U.S. trade publishers (also known as the “Big 5”) are:

  1. Penguin Random House
  2. HarperCollins
  3. Simon & Schuster
  4. Hachette Book Group
  5. Macmillan

(Source: Publishers Weekly)

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