See Also—December 2020

ASI News
—Special Event: Now is the Winter for Indexing Content
—Health Insurance Open Enrollment Period
—Become an ASI Webmaster
Associated Industry News
—Just What Is ICRIS?
—Watts at WOTS
—Indexing business during COVID-19
—PNW Elections
—Accident or Intention? NEASI Fall Virtual Meeting Review by Nancy Pease
Business and Marketing
—But, Can’t a Computer Just Do That?
—Pacific Northwest Chapter Indexers Confess
Spotlight Nancy Pease

ASI News

Special Event: Exiting 2020: Now is the Winter for Indexing Content Saturday, December 5.

The American Society for Indexing has extended early rates for this special event through Tuesday, December 1. ASI is excited to bring together four top speakers who will share indexing content you need for your business. During this unexpected time, honing your career is smart practice. Conveniently, you will join this virtual event from the comfort of your home or office computer via Zoom. Take this opportunity to enhance your skills and stay competitive in 2021.

Featured speakers: Ina Gravitz, JoAnne Burek, Cheryl Lenser, Kate Mertes. Topics include website development for freelancers, how to approach a text, indexing textbooks, and speed in indexing. Follow this link to learn more.

2021 Open Enrollment Period for new health coverage options for ASI members is closing soon!

Over 65: Medicare Enrollment started October 15 and runs to December 7, 2020.
Under 65: General Open Enrollment starts November 1 and runs to December 15, 2020.
Business: Coverage for Employer-sponsored LIG Group HRA can start at any time.

For more information click here.

Become an ASI Webmaster

The webmaster committee is seeking two new members to replace two who are retiring at the end of this year. This committee works as a team of four, with each member being on-call one week of each month. The webmaster-of-the-week (WOW) responds timely to emails received in the webmaster mailbox, makes requested updates to the website as appropriate, and refers questions on to other responsible parties as needed. At the end of the week, a brief report is sent to the other webmasters on the team.

Successful candidates will have experience maintaining websites, including adding, deleting, and editing content, and creating new pages as needed. Familiarity with the WordPress platform and dashboard is preferred; HTML coding experience is a strong plus. Webmasters must be current members of ASI.

If you are intrigued by this volunteer opportunity, please send an email detailing your interest and qualifications to Jennifer Spanier by December 15, 2020.

Associated Industry News

Just What Is ICRIS?

No, ICRIS is not a rebranding effort by a failed aeronaut of yore; rather, it is an assembly of representatives from various international indexing organizations, who gather to discuss industry issues and codify agreements between associations. Continue reading to discover the history and functioning of this influential organization.

From the website: International relations between indexing societies and associated groups or networks are governed by the International Agreement of Indexing Societies, originally concluded in 1999 and amended at Triennial Meetings in 2006, 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018…For an account of how these relations developed see A short history of matters international (Jill Halliday, The Indexer, 30(3), pp. 148-50).

Watts at WOTS

Indexing Society of Canada Member Gillian Watts was interviewed at the Word on the Street (Toronto) virtual event in September. WOTS “is a national celebration of literacy and Canadian writing. Each September, we host hundreds of author readings for visitors of all ages and a vibrant marketplace featuring the best selection of books and magazines in Canada.” Gillian was interviewed by the Instagram Digital Soapbox at the conference about all things indexing. Hear the interview at this link.


Indexing business during COVID-19

Jim Fuhr of the Chicago Great Lakes chapter of ASI continues to update their informative survey of the indexing business during the COVID-19 pandemic. For a fascinating window into the fluctuating crisis response, follow this link.

PNW elections

The Pacific Northwest chapter of ASI has completed their yearly elections with the following results:

  • Judy Staigmiller will continue as Chair
  • Sam Arnold-Boyd will continue as Program Co-Chair
  • Daniel Heila is a new board member as Program Co-Chair
  • Angela Howard is continuing as Treasurer

Keep your eyes on this chapter for more excellent programming in 2021.

Accident or Intention? NEASI Fall Virtual Meeting Review by Nancy Pease

The New England chapter of ASI hosted indexer and author Nan Badgett for her presentation “Inside the Accidental Indexer” at their annual Zoom conference on October 3.

Nan opened by asking whether attendees were deliberate or accidental indexers. Out of eighteen indexers with varying lengths of experience, the tally was almost evenly split with several attendees declaring themselves to be both.Cindex

Focusing on the topics of marketing, work management, and work/life balance, Nan discussed how she launched and manages her own business, Wordability. She began by working with a mentor from the Small Business Administration and also using AARP career resources to aid her marketing and networking efforts. She stressed that although cold calls and emails were not her favorite activities, her business would not have grown without them.

“Marketing is a game of numbers,” says Nan. Above all, though, marketing is customer service. In short: keep your commitments and don’t whine.

Nan stressed that a fruitful business plan keeps one’s business moving forward, but the specific tasks depend on the indexer’s experience. Newer indexers might develop websites, for example, while more experienced people might experiment with macros.

A comfortable workspace with ergonomic chairs and keyboards is the foundation of productivity. [Please see this list of office setups from the PNW fall presentation on ergonomics.] Conference members also suggested Margaret Berson’s standalone program, Megabit Macros, and Barry Campbell’s program, IndexConvert, to increase production. ASI offers webinars on a number of topics mentioned by Nan: Ethics in indexing, the ASI Indexer Locator, and how to use PDFs to increase production are just a few.

Nan concluded by emphasizing the need for work/life balance, especially in stressful times such as 2020, by suggesting several strategies: breaking for a short walk when stuck on a problem can work better than pushing for perfectionism; Just eat real food (JERF, as Nan calls it); rest enough; and unplug from technology.

The presentation had an excellent hands-on aspect as well, with three exercises to tailor topics discussed to attendees’ individual businesses. Participants wrote their own thirty-second elevator speeches, which were shared, and then each attendee listed several new contacts to make. Finally, action plans were written for the next two months. Nan assured participants that she would be following up on these at a later date.

Congratulations to Melissa Stern Hyde, who won the door prize, a copy of Nan's book, The Accidental Indexer.

Thank you Melissa Stern Hyde, Steve Bell, Joan Shipiro, and Michelle Guilliano for organizing this conference, and Christine Hoskin and Alexandra Nickerson for offering to volunteer.

Business and Marketing

But, Can’t a Computer Just Do That?

How many times has someone asked you what you do, only to stare blankly after your given answer and say “But aren’t indexes created by computer programs?” Hines Award winner Martha Osgood (of Back Words Indexing) has an excellent article regarding this perennially perturbing query. Read it here to beef up your response repertory.

Pacific Northwest Chapter Indexers Confess

“All of us were beginners, once, and thus we are sympathetic with the issues of marketing our skills, and ourselves, especially as newcomers to the profession.” Nancy Gerth (PNW president, 2010)

In 2010 the PNW Chapter of ASI published their ebook My First (Real) Indexing Job. The PDF is a collection of 20 first job stories from PNW member indexers. The book is a wonderfully varied journey through the trials of newbie-ness and, as such, is informative and entertaining at the same time. Follow this link to read.

Spotlight Nancy Pease

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

Where do you live now? Where are you originally from?

I live outside of Boston about 10 miles from where I grew up, but I have also spent a lot of time in New Hampshire.

What is your educational background?

Bachelor’s degree in Literature and a Master’s degree in Foreign Literature. Associate’s degree in Business for Graphic Design. Certificate program for medical transcription.

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

Learning tapestry weaving and reading Kristin Lavransdatter right now. Container gardening. Volunteered at the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. Was a hospital clown.

What kind of work did you do before you studied indexing?

Medical transcription for seven years prior to indexing. Lots of office work.

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

I joined ASI when I completed the indexing course at University of California, Berkley, in 2017.

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

I can’t limit it to just one. Belonging to my regional branch, the webinars, and the SIGs.

Finally, what is your best coping strategy for the pandemic?

Sometimes I work at the library to take a break from my home office. I am also making my home as comfortable as possible by decluttering. Finally, I walk on nearby trails a lot more.

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