See Also — January 2017

We’re bringing in the new year with a new online course, a new webinar, a new editor for Key Words, and a new feature in See Also. Happy 2017!

Online Education: Medical Indexing
ASI Webinar: Creating and Securing Your WordPress Website for Marketing Success
New Editor for Key Words
ASI Professional Activities and Salary Survey—Executive Summary
SIG News: Taxonomies & Controlled Vocabularies
SIG surveys
Network with publishers at the PubWest Conference—at member rates

Online Education: Medical Indexing

You can still register ASI's three-part online learning course—Medical Indexing—with Anne Fifer, DO PhD, to be held January 18, January 25, and February 1, at 10 a.m. Pacific; 11 a.m. Mountain; 12 p.m. Central; 1 p.m. Eastern.

Medical indexing—which embraces a wide variety of medical and pharmaceutical books and manuals—is a rigorous, but lucrative, specialty for indexers. Gaining a proficiency in medical indexing can widen indexers’ client base and enhance their skill sets. This series is designed to introduce the specialty area of medical indexing for indexers with a medical background—as well as those without one.

Read complete course details and register here.

New ASI Webinar: Creating and Securing Your WordPress Website for Marketing Success

A new webinar, Creating and Securing Your WordPress Website for Marketing Success, will be held on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 10 a.m. Pacific, 11 a.m. Mountain, 12 p.m. Central, 1 p.m. Eastern.

Rich Hamilton (longtime WordPress coder and the tech whiz behind ASI’s website) and Joanne Sprott (longtime indexer, editor, and tech-savvy user of WordPress for her own sites) are teaming up to provide indexers with a guide to online visibility for their freelance businesses through the WordPress content management system.

Joanne Sprott will share basic content guidelines for pulling in prospective clients and presenting your indexing services and portfolio using WordPress features.

She will cover basic content principles like regular blogging, simple menus/navigation, a good About page, contact form, organizing your services, portfolio ideas, blogging vs. static CV site, what to put in your sidebar, building an email list/followers, and the importance of terms and conditions and a privacy policy.

In the process of showing you how to work your content, she will also explain how WordPress posts and pages are used, how to choose a theme and add widgets to your site, and tips for using categories and tags for your blog posts.

Rich Hamilton will cover the actual process of building a WordPress website and protecting it from hackers.

You’ll learn about installing WordPress on your domain, setting up plugins, themes, and settings.

Then, Rich will show you how hackers try to break into your website and he will give you a step-by-step plan to protect your website.

Perhaps most important, this webinar will be recorded so you can go back to review the material as often as necessary to master the details.

For more information click here.

New Editor for Key Words

We are happy to announce that Donna Shear has been selected as the new editor-in-chief of ASI’s quarterly journal Key Words. Donna answered a few questions about herself and her plans for the journal.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself—your family, travels, hobbies?

I live with my husband in Towson, Maryland, across from the Goucher College campus. I am a proud cat owner and originally from Maryland.

Regarding travel, I confess to a special fondness for the Clydebank of Scotland, where I lived at the age of 19. I was working as a gardener at Finlaystone estate—a setting similar to that of Downton Abbey—the home of the chiefs of the MacMillan Clan.

As for hobbies, my passion is oil painting: still lifes, landscapes, and portraits in the style of classical realism. The painting school I attend uses the materials and teaches the techniques used by the Old Masters.

What did you do before you were an indexer? How and when did you start indexing?

I wrote my first indexes in the early 1980s as a senior researcher in the Books Division at the National Geographic Society, in Washington, DC. I left Geographic to attend graduate school, and in 1985 moved to New York for the Columbia University literature program. I received a master’s degree in English and Comparative Literature in 1986.

Returning to Maryland, I worked as an assistant manuscripts curator in Special Collections at the Maryland Historical Society, and transferred to their Publications Division. When the society cut staff and dissolved Publications, I continued to edit books and journal articles as a freelancer, and in 2007 attended Kay Schlembach’s indexing workshop at the ASI conference in Philadelphia. The workshop reminded me how well writing indexes dovetailed with editing and the book production process. The same year, I joined ASI, adding the writing of indexes to my freelance editing work. During that time I also served as the president of the Mid- and South-Atlantic chapter, and as cochair of the committee that generated the ASI Guide to Best Practices in Indexing.

L-R: Donna Shear, Joan Shapiro, Pilar Wyman at the East Coast Regional Meeting

Most recently I served on a panel with Pilar Wyman and Joan Shapiro at the ASI East Coast Regional Meeting Philadelphia. The meeting theme was “Still Standing After All These Years,” and our panel topic was to address the ways indexers from different fields contribute expertise to the field of indexing.

What are your plans or visions for Key Words?

Under the excellent leadership of previous editors, Key Words has become a well-established and engaging journal with a visually dynamic design, and those elements will continue. For this year, the vision is to continue featuring solid articles that will cover scholarly topics and examine some of the in-depth economic and technical issues relating to our profession. My hope is to do this while maintaining the unique voice and style of ASI. Planning for the first issue has begun, and my goal is to have the material ready for layout by the end of January 2017.

I also hope to form an editorial board for planning future issues, and welcome ideas and suggestions for the journal.

ASI represents an excellent community of indexing professionals, and I’m looking forward to serving that community in the capacity of Key Words editor.

ASI Professional Activities and Salary Survey—Executive Summary

Every five years, ASI conducts an in-depth survey of its members to take a snapshot of the industry in terms of its demographics, financial trends (including pricing and salary data), areas of growth and overall strength. Using this type of data, members can see how their individual skills, interests, and goals can fit into the existing industry structure and how they might be able to leverage emerging trends to their advantage.

In general, the industry remains strong with many salary figures holding steady or increasing compared to those cited in the survey conducted six years ago. Looking exclusively at full-time indexers, the average gross income is around $52,000, which is a modest increase from the 2009 results when the average range was $51,000.

For the complete executive summary and access to the full 47-page report, visit this page.

Taxonomies & Controlled Vocabularies SIG

The Taxonomies & Controlled Vocabularies SIG took advantage of ASI’s partnership with the publishing company Information Today Inc. (copublisher of ASI books), to have a free information table at Information Today’s Taxonomy Boot Camp conference in Washington, DC, on November 14. (In addition to publishing books and magazines, Information Today also puts on a number of information industry conferences.) The SIG distributed flyers it had created, one side with information about the SIG and its services and the other side with “Benefits of Contracting Taxonomist Members of the ASI Taxonomies & Controlled Vocabularies SIG” and a list of their qualifications and areas of service. Information Today had prepared a sign for the table with the ASI logo. While the table was unattended much of the day, for some time ASI members Terry Casey and Heather Hedden, who were attending the conference, sat at the table to answer questions. The SIG intends to do this again at the 2017 Taxonomy Boot Camp to continue to promote the freelance services of its members.

SIG Member Survey Results

How can ASI special interest groups (SIGs) better serve their members? A set of surveys, one for each of the 10 ASI affiliated SIGs, open only to the SIG members, was conducted over several weeks in December to try to find some answers. The survey initiative and design came from Heather Hedden, the ASI board member who is the SIG relations coordinator. There were nine multiple-choice questions and one open response. Following are initial results from just a few of the questions. More details will appear later in a longer Key Words article.
Indexers join SIGs because they do work in the specific subject area, but there is no clear interest in specific SIG services. In answer to the question “What is the main reason you belong to your SIG?”, the leading answers were “It’s my subject specialty, so it’s the logical group to belong to,” and “It’s one of my subject areas, and occasionally I have questions to ask.” The third most common response was “I’d like to learn more about the subject and perhaps branch into it.” Survey response options of benefiting from networking and marketing were much further behind.

The services that members find most valuable are the SIG online discussion groups, but actual usage and satisfaction with the discussion groups is relatively low. The leading response to the question “Do you participate in the SIG discussion group?” was “No, because it’s rather inactive,” which was followed by “No, because I didn’t know about it.”

The second most popular SIG services are the SIG website directories of members offering freelance services. However, in answer to the question “Have you used the SIG membership listing as a resource for referring work on indexing projects which either you can’t take or you need help on?”, by far the leading response was “No, but I might.”

As for what service or activities the SIGs could enhance or add, the leading response among the suggested choices was webinars, followed by more active marketing of members’ services. Finally, in response to the question of what ASI could do to better support the SIGs, the leading answer was providing SIG websites as subsites of the ASI website, followed by providing online training or webinars in the SIG specialties.

Although the survey period formally ended December 23 for aggregate analysis from all SIGs, the surveys remain open to late responses, which may still help inform individual SIG leaders. If you are an ASI member and belong to a SIG but have not yet taken the survey, you can do so at


We begin the new year with a new monthly feature — Spotlight — to introduce some of the lesser-known ASI members to the community.

Anna Elizabeth Laube was nominated to be in the Spotlight by Maria Sosnowski, secretary of the the Pacific Northwest (PNW) chapter.

Anna lives in Seattle but is originally from the Midwest. She completed a BA in sociology and anthropology and has studied music all her life. She’s an independent musician and music producer working under the artist name Anna Elizabeth Laube. Her work can be found at and on Spotify and Bandcamp. She also loves building websites and would be happy to help anyone looking for an updated indexing web presence. See an example of her work at

Anna loves meditation, yoga, photography, and film/TV.

She is currently taking the ASI training course. When asked what the best advantage of ASI membership is for her, she replied, “ASI membership is great for fostering community and staying in the indexing loop. It was great getting to know some fellow indexers at the recent PNW chapter meeting.”

If you would like to nominate someone to be in the Spotlight — or to be in it yourself — contact the editor, Ælfwine Mischler, at

Network with publishers at the PubWest Conference in Portland, Oregon

pubwest2017_headerPubWest has generously extended PubWest member rates to ASI members for their 2017 conference in Portland, Oregon, February 9-11. When you register as a member, you will save $100 on your registration.

Ælfwine Mischler serves as the editor of See Also. Reach her at

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