See Also—August 2022

ASI News
—Help write or edit ASI's publications
—Combs is the new moderator of online discussion group
—Enhance your online profile
—Megabit Macros creator Margaret Berson has died
Associated Industry News
—Program set for hybrid international conference
—It's a good trend for booksellers—and readers
—To your health
Spotlight on Vickie Jacobs

ASI News

Help write or edit ASI's publications

You can assist in expanding and updating ASI's extensive collection of publications—by offering an idea, writing a chapter, or authoring or editing a full book.

ASI's guides and handbooks, written by professional indexers and taxonomists, have been published since 1998 through Information Today, but will soon be published by ASI.

According to Kendra Millis, Publications Coordinator/Acquisitions Editor, the following publications are planned:
Indexing Specialties: History. This edition will be an update and expansion of the first edition (1998), which focuses on indexing of history textbooks, art history, medieval and Renaissance history and Latin American history.

New indexers publication. ASI has previously published several books that contain valuable information for new indexers. Moving forward, this information will be consolidated into one volume and updated to reflect today's work environment.

Index It Right! Advice from the Experts series. Even though ASI has published three volumes in this series, there are still topics to be covered. If you have an idea that might not require book-length coverage, this series could be the place.

Having a hand in ASI's publications is an important way for indexers to promote quality indexing while also establishing themselves as an expert in an area of indexing.

Please email Kendra Millis to contribute to these projects or with questions.

Information about ASI's current publications—including an index mashup—is available here.

Combs is the new moderator of online discussion group

Michele Combs, ASI's immediate past president, is the new moderator of ASI's primary discussion list, ASIndexing.

ASIndexing is a forum for discussing the practice and business of indexing, as well as a place for members to discuss indexing-related articles, books and social media, and for ASI administration to share news. There are guidelines for posting to the group.

If you're not already a subscriber to the list, visit ASI's full list of discussion groups on how to subscribe.

Contact Michele with questions or with ideas on encouraging discussion on the list.

Thank you to Carolyn Weaver, who moderated the group for the past three years.

Enhance your online profile

In the recent ASI webinar, "Establishing Yourself as an Expert," Jen Weers suggested that members enhance their online profile by uploading a photo. How do you add a photo or logo to your listing?

On the ASI website, go to the Member Center box on the right side and log in. (If you are already logged in, your name appears at the top.) Click on Edit Your Profile. Make any other edits to your profile first and Save. Then scroll to the bottom where you'll see "Upload Headshot/Logo/Image."

Use a good quality RGB .jpg or .png image, no larger than one megabyte. Click "Choose File," and browse to locate your image file. Click "Begin Uploading File," then click on "Save Directory Profile."

Your image will appear in your Indexer Locator profile, if you have one, as well as in the ASI Membership Directory. Including an image makes your profile more noticeable.

Megabit Macros creator Margaret Berson has died

Margaret Berson, a former longtime member of the American Society for Indexing, died on June 27, 2022. She was 77 and lived in Portland, Oregon. She earned a BA in French at San Francisco State University (Phi Beta Kappa) and later a certificate in publishing at UC Berkeley.

Berson specialized in technical and computer indexing. She was also a copyeditor. She is remembered especially for her creation of Megabit Macros, utilized by many professional indexers to index names more efficiently. The macros can be used with Cindex, SKY and Macrex indexing software.

"I was very sorry to hear of Margaret Berson's death," said Connie Binder, an indexer and ASI webinar presenter. "She was always so kind, and incredibly generous with her time. The macros she created revolutionized my work. I will remember her fondly as I use them."

Berson was a member and past treasurer of ASI's Pacific Northwest Chapter and was active in the Portland indexers group's lunch meetings before the pandemic, according to indexer Scott Smiley.

Associated Industry News

Program set for hybrid international conference

Registration is open for "Continental Connections—International Indexing Conference," which will take place Oct. 17 and Oct. 18, 2022, in Berlin and online. The conference is organized in concert with the Triennial Meeting of the International Committee of Representatives of Indexing Societies (ICRIS). That takes place Oct. 16, 2022.

Presenters in the two-day conference will include several ASI professionals:

  • Devon Thomas, ASI's international representative, and ASI Executive Director Gwen Henson will present "It Takes Two to Tango: Communicating with Publishers and Editors."
  • Kate Mertes will discuss developing an indexing plan for unconventional texts.
  • Pilar Wyman and Jan Wright, along with Glenda Browne, will explore developments in e-book indexing.
  • Walter Greulich will present a program on embedded indexing in Word.

The full program schedule is here.

As a hybrid conference, there are separate fees and registration procedures here.

For questions about the conference, email the organizers.

It's a good trend for booksellers—and readers


A recent New York Times article delivered good news to book lovers and to those who work in the industry: More than 300 independent bookstores have opened across the country in the last couple of years—and there is more diversity as well.

The Times spoke to Allison Hill, chief executive of the American Booksellers Association, about the trend.
"It's kind of shocking when you think about what dire straits the stores were in in 2020," Hill said. "We saw a rally like we've never seen before."

Hill said 80 percent of the independent bookstore trade organization's member stores had higher sales in 2021, compared to 2020.

Many of the newer stores, the Times reported, are run by nonwhite booksellers who offer materials tailored to the communities they serve. Yu and Me Books in New York's Chinatown is among them. "People were hungry for a place focused on Asian American and immigrant stories," owner Lucy Yu said.

To your health

Add at-your-desk stretches to your workday.

Fact is indexers likely sit more than they want to—or should.

In addition to the warnings about long-term effects of sitting (from weight gain to increased risk of heart disease), sitting at a desk for uninterrupted hours can make our necks ache and our legs stiff.

Standing desks and treadmill desks are concepts health professionals get behind, but those sometimes require major reworking of a workspace.

The Mayo Clinic offers these tips to workers who sit a lot:

  • Take a break from sitting every 30 minutes by taking a walk or going up and down stairs.
  • Stand while talking on the phone or watching a video.
  • Use a high table or counter to improvise a standing desk.
  • Add seated or standing stretches to your routine.

Mayo offers a collection of videos that show ways to stretch without leaving your work area.

Health Tip

Visit the Health Insurance Benefits page for more information on ASI's membership health insurance benefit that can help keep you, your family, and even your business cost-effectively covered and healthy.

Spotlight on Vickie Jacobs

This month's Spotlight is on Vickie Jacobs, owner of VFJ Indexing & Word Services.

If you would like to be in the Spotlight, or would like to nominate someone for it, please contact Laurie Hlavaty.

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

I live in the Orlando, Florida, area but am originally from Miami. When I was young, my family moved to Illinois, so really I grew up in both places.

I have five parakeets and one cat; the birds have to stay caged (it's a big cage) because while the cat behaves mostly like a lady, she knows food when she sees it.

What is your educational background?

As an undergrad, I studied international relations and then realized I really wanted to be a librarian, so I earned my MLIS from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, which is also where I was introduced to indexing as a career path.

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

I wanted to volunteer at a falcon rehabilitation place nearby, but it didn't work out. I recently started learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and several years ago took up surfing. I'm not very good at either one yet, but it's a process and a whole lot of fun. More relaxing hobbies include spending time with friends and family, reading, going for medium-long runs, and yoga.

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

I was a librarian or worked in libraries since 2007. Other than one-off research questions that old patrons/friends come to me with, I basically left the library scene last year when I went full-time with indexing.

What is a favorite strategy to help motivate or inspire when you are feeling stuck during a work project?

If I'm overwhelmed or don't know where to start with the index, but am focused, I'll read the book with "no pressure"—but I'll keep a notepad or Word document open for taking notes as I read.

If I find I just can't stay focused, I have learned to stop trying to fight the ants in my pants, and I just take a break from the screen. I say, "OK, it's X o'clock now, I'll go do this one thing and I'll be back no later than Y o'clock, and I'll get busy for real." Usually that works. I have learned that if I try to sit there and force myself to be productive, I end up wasting more time in the long run.

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

My first book came to me in December 2012; I started indexing on a part-time basis after taking an indexing course during library school. I joined ASI in 2016 after getting a book that was too long and complicated, and really I had no business accepting it with my experience level, but the topic and structure were too tempting to turn away. Since the deadline was very generous, I took it on, and as a result of that experience, I decided to invest in ASI's training course.

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

Meeting and talking with other indexers, getting their perspectives and advice, and just general "office" talk—even though we are scattered throughout the United States and the world. Another advantage that might tie in with the camaraderie aspect is the discounts on webinars and educational series that ASI provides. They have been super helpful and offer great supplemental materials to the ASI training course.

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