—Indexers Line Up for Virtual Shot in the Arm at ASI Annual Conference
—Master Indexer Pushes Your Novice Workout to the Next Level
—Day-Long Session with Indexing Software Reps Follows Successful Conference
—ASI Welcomes New Board, Announces Kohlrabi Winners at Annual Meeting
Associated Industry News
—ISC/SCI Announces Award Winner
—Writer’s Digest’s Writer’s Market Looks for Input to Rates List
Business and Marketing
Spotlight on DeAnna Burghart
Indexers Line Up for Virtual Shot in the Arm at ASI Annual Conference
The ASI 2021 Annual Conference was held virtually on April 30 and May 1, with a pre-conference workshop on April 29. This year’s conference revealed a community of dedicated professionals who came together to reconnect, share stories of troubled times, and explore and learn more about their fascinating and fulfilling field.
Connie Binder, the first of six presenters, started off Friday morning with her You Can Do It! Maximize Your Data-entry Efficiency! presentation. “Every time you reach for your mouse you lose money,” was the major takeaway from Connie’s breakneck-speed presentation on how to increase indexing efficiency. Indeed, one could release their mouse to the mercy of the cats after employing Binder’s extensive catalog of time-saving keystrokes, software-based keyboard shortcuts, acronym management tips, and macro creation methods.
Following Binder’s utilitarian presentation, Peter Rooney and Julia Rooney presented, in Socratic-question style, Peter's work of indexing the Mueller Report: Indexing Without a Client—the Mueller Report. Peter covered the importance of the document and the frustration of not having an index for this historic work. He covered the importance of avoiding bias, the efficiency of using the TOC for structure, and the glossary for guidance, and the difficulty of indexing redacted sections of the manuscript. The presentation went on to compare commissioned work with independent work, which is Julia's area of expertise. Attendees were treated to a blending of the two types of work with pictures of art based on indexing!
Daniel Heila, in his presentation, Forget the Theme: Mind the Variations, discussed the variations between artistic disciplines in which similarly named periods have different boundaries; the way composers often exceed the confines of their supposed stylistic period; the complexity of “simple” concepts like the triad; the historical alternation of Dionysian and Apollonian aesthetics; how contemporary minimalism implies its opposite; and the persistence of graphic notation throughout music history. (And Nötta Nüther Bach was given her due.) A small controversy that developed in the chat about grammatical construction of subheadings and commas before conjunctions was clearly enjoyed by all.
Saturday started out with Michele Combs’s fascinating The Order of Things: Indexing Then and Now. From the creation of “registers” (windows into the deep history of indexing) by chilled scribes in chilly places of knowledge, with their drawings of pointy fingers and annotations to bring attention to connections in a text, to the emergence of the modern index in the age of Gutenberg’s printing revolution, Combs’s presentation traced the emergence, development, and rise of the importance of the modern index. As a tool for the people, indexes allowed access to information outside of the author’s manipulations and biases. A final point of the presentation was that the evolution of the index as a tool of the people is continuing in the emergence of web indexes and crawlers taking back control of information. But, is this a two-way street?
Heather Pendley and Devon Thomas brought complementary perspectives on embedded indexing to their presentation Embedded Indexing: Tackling the Enigma. Both shared a wide range of issues they’ve encountered with varied software, file management systems, and editing. Both were open-minded and often amusing about the challenges of embedded indexing (which tends to raise the level of time commitment as well as compensation). Both presenters offered ample tools and tips to work around the many shortcomings of the embedded indexing process. Although embedded indexing seems to be a low priority for publishers, the development of software such as Index Manager is driving embedded indexing into the future.
Nan Badgett’s presentation, "Inside the Accidental Indexer," went into additional depth about topics from her 2015 book, The Accidental Indexer. Admitting her own beginnings in the field to be both accidental and deliberate, she pointed out that while moving forward professionally can also have both qualities, a deliberate course is preferable. Topics included how to embrace change, what good customer service in indexing might look like, how to brand your business and define your target market, tips for time management, and work-life balance. Finally, she proposed a call to action: what will indexers do in the next two months to move their businesses forward?
[Thank you to Heidi Winston, Judy Staigmiller, and John Rose for contributions to the newsletter.]
Master Indexer Pushes Your Novice Workout to the Next Level
Fred Leise’s Flex Your Indexing Muscles workshop, a pre-conference offering on April 29, was a thorough introduction to back-of-the-book indexing for newbies and prospective indexers alike. Topics included: indexers, indexes, and indexing projects. Fred addressed characteristics of each and things to keep in mind when starting a new project. Of particular interest were Fred’s rules of indexing, including rule #1 “There are no rules, only contexts” and its corollary, “It depends.” Additional tips included: “Always remember the reader,” “Ask the editor,” and “There’s no such thing as the perfect index” or, in other words, “Stop fiddling with that thing, you can do that forever…” Other topics covered were the concept of “metatopics” and an approach to indexing using the TOC as structural reference. The workshop concluded with a discussion of indexing as a business, including such practicalities as indexing software and office ergonomics and how to land that essential first paid job.
[Thank you to Gina Mik for her contribution to the newsletter.]
Day-Long Session with Indexing Software Reps Follows Successful Conference
ASI held a day-long session for conference attendees to meet representatives from major indexing software companies. Reps from SKY Index, Cindex, Macrex, Index Manager, and Index Exploit offered hour-long presentations with highly informative question and answer sessions afterward.
ASI Welcomes New Board, Announces Kohlrabi Winners at Annual Meeting
“It has been a good year for ASI overall. I’m continually impressed by the flexibility and strength of our profession. After weathering more than a year of a global pandemic, indexers still show up for their careers and each other, participating in conferences and supporting colleagues online through various email lists and social media. When I attended my first regional conference in 2012, the biggest thing that struck me—besides how unbeatable a team of indexers would be as a trivia team—was how supportive the profession was. That feeling has only gotten stronger.”
In addition to general meeting responsibilities, introductions of new board members, and reports from various committees, the Kohlrabi awards were announced. The full list of this year’s Kohlrobians can be viewed online.
Associated Industry News
ISC/SCI Announces Award Winner
Indexing Society of Canada/Société canadienne d’indexation (ISC/SCI) announces Nicole Riguidel as the winner of the 2021 ISC/SCI Diversity in Canadian Publishing Bursary Award. Nicole Riguidel is a Métis woman from Paradise Hill, Saskatchewan who recently graduated with a diploma in Library and Information Technology and currently works as a library technician in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. As an aspiring indexer, Nicole looks forward to the opportunity to combine her background in the sciences with her library and information technology skills. Visit the ISC/SCI website for more information.
Writer’s Digest’s Writer’s Market Looks for Input to Rates List
The Writer’s Market, the annual publication put out by the Writer’s Digest family (formerly F&W Media), is an encyclopedic volume with a major feature that includes an estimated spectrum of pay rates for all areas of the writing profession. Please consider completing a survey to help Writer’s Digest increase the accuracy of their rates list. The survey can be found here, and Indexing appears on the second page. The more input, the more accurate Writer’s Market will be in their reporting.
Business and Marketing
Multiple monitor setups are nothing new in an indexer’s office setup. However, for indexers working on the go while traveling, multiple monitors haven’t been practical until fairly recently. There are many affordable portable monitors on the market today that meet varied demands from size to connectivity to power sourcing. Most portable monitors are designed to work in tandem with a laptop computer, with some models actually designed to attach to a laptop to become one with the unit. Most models are usually free-standing and connect to the laptop via some form of USB cable and outlet. The most versatile and adaptive use the newer USB-C and Thunderbolt cables/ports with DisplayPort technology to allow simultaneous video/audio signal delivery and power supply. Following are several links to top monitor reviews for 2021. Be sure to vet the specifications of the monitor and its compatibility with your laptop before purchasing.
Best Portable Monitors
Spotlight on DeAnna Burghart
If you would like to be in the Spotlight, or would like to nominate someone for it, please contact Daniel Heila.
DeAnna Burghart, of Burghart Editing, is a current volunteer ASI webmaster.
Where are you originally from? Where do you live now? Do you share your home with pets or family?
I grew up in Kansas City and moved to Southern California before the ink was dry on my diploma. Now we’re in London, England! My husband got a job here in September 2019, and we figured it would be a chance to explore Europe with our young adult kids. Little did we know…Ordinarily, we share our home with our millennial daughter, our zoomer son, and our daughter’s therapy dog and corn snake (yes, really).
What is your educational background?
I have a BS in communication (never gets old) with a minor in management. I did one semester of graduate school, realized I like food and that food costs money, so I went to work instead.
Do you have any hobbies, travels, volunteer work, or other interesting things to share?
I enjoy fiber arts: knitting, spinning, and so on. I’m also a genealogist, a musician [I sing (fairly well) and play the clarinet (less well)], and a gamer. I read some (sci-fi, history, biography, words), and I write some (essays and poetry). I also dabble in a bunch of things like sewing and gardening.
What kind of work did you do before you studied indexing? Are you still doing that or other work in addition to indexing?
I have a full-time editing business. Indexing will be an additional business line.
When did you start indexing? When did you join ASI?
I was the editor and operations manager at ProjectConnections.com from 2000 through about 2015. I took over database management in ‘07 or ‘08. That was my first professional taxonomy work, though I didn’t know that name at the time. My first book index was in 2017. I took the UC Berkeley course last year and joined ASI as soon as I finished—just this past January.
For you, what is the best advantage of ASI membership?
There’s such a wealth of wisdom and experience in this organization, and it’s shared so freely. I’m trying to soak it in as fast and as deeply as I can. Being connected to that kind of community really matters to me.
Finally, what is your best coping strategy for the pandemic?
Coping? Oh, is that the thing we do when we’re not sobbing into a glass of wine while eating chocolate? I’ve cried when I needed to, laughed as much as I could, worked, played, and waited for the vaccines. (I finally got my second shot this morning.) Mostly it’s just been about getting through, especially with all the personal turmoil. Sometimes, all you can do is strap in, hang on, and wait until it’s over.