See Also—July 2023

ASI News
—Indexers connect on the "Playground"
—Survey to help with conference planning
Key Words looks at EDI in indexing
Chapters and SIGS
—History SIG meets July 28
Associated Industry News
—ISC/SCI indexing award applauds Zafran index
—Purple Pen Contest kicks off July 15
To Your Health
—Protect your brain, take a nap
Spotlight on Sarahh Scher

ASI News

Indexers connect on the "Playground"

Make time for recess! ASI has created Indexing Playground, a place for indexers to connect and chat about issues, both professional and personal: how to juggle work with family, or plan for the future, or handle a tricky indexing problem.

Every few months, ASI members will get together online to have fun chatting with other indexers in an informal, safe environment.

The concept of "indexing playground" was inspired by Margie Towery (Ten Characteristics of Quality Indexes). She said when she is indexing, she thinks "about creating a playground. Audiences arrive at the playground with diverse knowledge, experience, emotions, goals, and so on. The index serves as the playground in which audiences enter the world of the text."

The online playgrounds open for the first time on Wednesday, August 9 (10:00 a.m. Pacific/1:00 p.m. Eastern). In each room, a host will welcome you and get the ball rolling. We'll meet via Zoom and break into these playgrounds:

  • Side Hustle indexers
  • BIPOC indexers
  • Parenting indexers
  • Indexers planning ahead for retirement
  • Recess (free-range chat)

If you have an idea for a playground theme or would like to host a playground, contact Theresa Duran or Gwen Henson.

Survey to help with conference planning

Thank you to those who participated in the recent survey about preferences for annual conferences. ASI leaders will evaluate the data and use it to make plans for the 2024 conference and beyond.

Key Words looks at EDI in indexing

The summer edition of Key Words, ASI's quarterly journal, is out this month.

In addition to full coverage of the "The Eyes Have It" annual conference, the issue explores:

  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion in indexing, with a new resource for indexers.
  • The benefit of calculating time and rates (Paratext column).
  • Artificial intelligence and indexing.


Chapters and SIGS

History SIG meets July 28

The History/Archaeology Special Interest Group will meet on Friday, July 28, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. This online session gives SIG members an opportunity to get to know each other and to share indexing experiences.

Visit the H/A SIG's website for information about joining.

Email Vickie Jacobs with any questions.

Associated Industry News

ISC/SCI indexing award applauds Zafran index

Enid L. Zafran is the recipient of the Indexing Society of Canada's 2023 Ewart-Daveluy Indexing Award, presented at the ISC/SCI conference in June. The award recognizes the index for Accidental Conflict: America, China, and the Clash of False Narratives, by Stephen Roach (Yale University Press, 2022). The judges praised Enid for "outstanding work that required concentration, thoroughness, and distinguishing closely related notions."

In her acceptance, Enid noted the importance of working together. "The secret sauce in my opinion is to make the author your collaborator," she said—explaining that she sent the author a draft index for feedback partway through, and how valuable that was to the final index.

Enid has been indexing for more than 40 years and is also a past recipient of the ASI Hines Award.


Purple Pen Contest kicks off July 15

The Institute of Certified Indexers (ICI) will start accepting submissions on July 15, 2023, for its tenth, and final, Purple Pen Indexing Contest for newer indexers.

This contest is specifically for indexers who have completed an indexing course in the last five years (January 1, 2018, through June 1, 2023).

Submissions are due by September 15, 2023 (Eastern Time), and a winner will be announced in October. Full details can be found here. Send questions and submissions to Connie Binder.

To Your Health

Protect your brain, take a nap

Need a good reason to step away from your computer for a bit?

Research has shown a plethora of mental and physical benefits from a short midday shut-eye. And now The Guardian has reported on the possible connection between daily naps and your brain's size.

Brain shrinkage is a normal process of aging, but researchers saw a difference in the brains of those who napped regularly. "… We found an association between habitual daytime napping and larger total brain volume, which could suggest that napping regularly provides some protection against neurodegeneration through compensating for poor sleep," the researchers noted.

To optimize your naptime, check out the Mayo Clinic's tips.

Health Insurance Benefit for ASI Members
ASI has partnered with LIG Solutions to offer members exclusive health insurance and related coverage options including major medical, short-term health plans, vision and dental plans, critical care coverage, life, and several different supplemental health options. Visit the Health Insurance Benefits page for more information.

Spotlight on Sarahh Scher

This month's Spotlight is on indexer Sarahh Scher.

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 currently live in the Boston metro area, but I am originally from upstate New York. At various times, I have lived in Missouri, New Mexico, Kansas, Georgia, Iowa, and Peru. I live with my husband and a bunch of houseplants. Whether the number of houseplants is too much or not enough depends on who you ask.

What is your educational background?

I studied art as an undergraduate at Washington University, St. Louis, and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from New Mexico State University. I went on to get a doctorate in art history from Emory University, with a focus on the ancient Andean region. In both undergraduate and graduate school, I took anthropology/archaeology classes, and my PhD topic required that I understand archaeology field reports, so that came in handy. I even took a forensic anthropology course, where we learned how experts reconstruct human identities from skeletal remains. It’s also where I learned a fun fact: Bear paws have skeletal structures very similar to humans, so sometimes people find bear skeletons and call the authorities, thinking they have found human remains!

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

I traveled quite a bit in my former "art history" life. I was part of a graduate student exchange program with the University of Leiden, and I still love the Netherlands. As the site of my dissertation research, I have spent a lot of time in Peru, both in the highlands and on the coast. I also spent two months in the Amazonian jungle of Ecuador for an anthropology field school, where I was able to see traditional farming and crafting cultures as well as seeing leaf-cutter ants in person. I’ve traveled in Europe as a tourist and leading student groups but would love to visit Japan and New Zealand. I don’t have space for printmaking in my current living arrangement, but I do paint—everything from small gouache works to a skateboard deck for my husband. I also enjoy bike riding, hiking, and weightlifting.

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

I taught college-level art history and art appreciation until 2021, and I still produce art historical scholarship on the topic of gender and dress in ancient Peru. I do a small amount of copyediting in addition to indexing.

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

I trust my brain to work on the problem even if I’m not sitting in front of the computer. Take a walk. Watch a silly movie. Doodle. Even work on a different index if I’ve got multiple ones in process. When I let my brain relax about a problem is when I find the best solutions (I know that can be easier said than done!).

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

I started indexing in 2021, although I had some experience with it, as a co-editor on a scholarly volume (and of course being a user of indexes as a researcher). I joined ASI in 2022, after taking the UC Berkeley indexing course.

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

The ability to make connections with other indexers (shout out to the History/Archaeology SIG), learn new things, and market myself professionally. I have found it invaluable to be able to talk to more experienced indexers. No matter how good an indexing course is, there’s so much more to learn once you finish. Book recommendations and practical advice have been incredibly helpful as I gain experience and build my client base.

Items to be considered for the See Also newsletter should be submitted by the 15th of the month before publication. For August 2023 issue, please email See Also Editor by July 15. Thank you.

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