See Also—June 2023

ASI News
—New president takes reins at annual meeting
—In memory of Jim Fuhr
—Volunteer opportunity: Welcome new members
—Newest Key Words is coming
Did you know…
Chapters and SIGS
—Interested in joining the New York City Chapter?
Associated Industry News
—ANZSI issues call for conference proposals
Business and Marketing
—Indexers share tips and insights
Spotlight on Scott Smiley

ASI News

New president takes reins at annual meeting

More than 35 ASI members and board members gathered online for the 2023 Annual General Meeting on May 19.

Gina Guilinger, ASI's outgoing president, focused on the highlights of the year, as ASI fulfills its goals of advocacy, education and providing indexing resources. These include:

  • Well-attended conferences and webinars
  • Refresh of the Indexer Locator categories
  • Kicking off a redesign of ASI's training course
  • Presentation on indexing for the Book Industry Study Group
  • Increased activity by Chapters and SIGS

The meeting included the treasurer's report from Cheryl Lenser; presentation of the Kohlrabi Awards to ASI volunteers; and recognition of outgoing and new board members.

The presidency was then transferred to Theresa Duran, who looks forward to her tenure: "ASI completely shaped my indexing career for the better. I'm really happy for the opportunity to support this organization."

In memory of Jim Fuhr

Jim Fuhr, a longtime ASI member who headed the Chicago-Great Lakes Chapter, died May 21, 2023. He is remembered for his contributions to the indexing profession, and for his gracious nature.

"Jim was one of the brightest, most unique individuals I was lucky enough to meet over the years…a funny, scholarly, jack-of-many-artistic and intellectual trades who worked hard for the Chicago ASI chapter under varying circumstances," wrote Leoni McVey, a retired indexer and former chairperson of the Chicago chapter.

"He had an excitingly checkered career that included ferrying great paintings cross-country by truck, researching and writing amazing nuggets about Parisian history, teaching college, working at the Art Institute of Chicago, and becoming a scholarly indexer," McVey explained.

Jim indexed in his primary areas of interest: French studies, world literature, fine arts in all media, including photography, film and film history. He had earned a PhD in comparative literature with a minor in art history.

In 2019, Jim presented an ASI webinar titled, "An Introduction to James Lamb’s CUP/XML WordEmbed.

On the ASI discussion list, many remembered their interactions with Jim through the Chicago chapter and at conferences, reflecting on how personable, kind and helpful he was.

This included, in particular, the valuable research he spearheaded about the impact of the pandemic on indexers.

"Jim issued a series of reports on COVID and indexing based on job information supplied to him by other indexers," wrote Theresa Duran, ASI's president. "My own career had taken a nosedive during those early months, so I really appreciated Jim’s efforts to make sense of it all. He seemed to care deeply about the indexing community. It’s such a blow to lose someone like him."

ASI will name a new chapter leader soon.

Volunteer opportunity: Welcome new members

Cindex ASI's Membership Committee is looking for a little help. The committee's role is to reach out to new members—to welcome and familiarize them with ASI's resources and benefits.

The committee needs someone to take on that task for this July and August. Each committee volunteer only has to participate once a year for two consecutive months, chairperson Mamta Jha explained.

Please contact Mamta if you are interested in giving the committee a hand.

Newest Key Words is coming

Watch for the summer edition of Key Words, the quarterly journal of the American Society for Indexing, available in July.
The issue includes a look at:

  • 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

There will also be full coverage of "The Eyes Have It" conference, with session reviews by ASI member volunteers.

Did you know…

ASI is among several indexing societies around the globe. As part of an international agreement, societies share newsletters about their activities with each other's members, and ASI makes these newsletters easier for members to access.

The most recent newsletters are from the Society of Indexers (UK) and the Indexing Society of Canada (ISC/SCI).

Go to this page to see what indexers are doing in other countries.

Chapters and SIGS

Interested in joining the New York City Chapter?

There is interest in revitalizing the New York City Chapter, which has been on hiatus for the last few years. Heidi Winston, a NYC-based indexer, is looking for other indexers in the region who may want to join and help get the chapter running again.

Please reach out to Heidi with questions and ideas.

ASI has ten regional chapters and a variety of special interest groups (SIGS) for special events, education and networking. Each ASI member can join one chapter for free with their annual membership. Reach out to the chapter liaison with general questions about chapters.

If you have news to share about your chapter or SIG, please email See Also.

Associated Industry News

ANZSI issues call for conference proposals

The Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers (ANZSI) invites proposals for papers or panel sessions for its conference, "Making Connections," to be held October 19-21 in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.

Proposals, which should include a brief biography and be no longer than 500 words, can be submitted to conference chair Sharon Betridge by June 30.

Conference attendance will be in person, but all sessions will be recorded and made available to other societies and associated groups. Arrangements can also be made to stream speakers into the conference.

More details available at the conference page.

Business and Marketing

Indexers share tips and insights

Through podcasts and blogs, indexers share their expertise and experiences on running a business and writing indexes:

  • Michelle Guiliano, a New Hampshire-based indexer, hosts The Freelancer Exchange podcast. Topics include how to be a good boss (to yourself); the various ways to determine indexing rates; how time tracking has worked for her; and how to prepare estimates. The podcast is available on most podcast apps, or visit Michelle's website.
  • Potomac Indexing has hosted a blog for several years. It examines a broad range of topics related to creating indexes as well as business issues such as technology, project management and life-work balance. A recent post by Meghan Brawley (a former ASI president) explores the challenges of indexing multi-author works.
  • Stephen Ullstrom, a Canadian-based indexer and writer, has a blog where he gives a close look at his thought process in crafting indexes, from term selection to writing main entries.

Spotlight on Scott Smiley

This month's Spotlight is on Scott Smiley, an indexer in Washington state.

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 Vancouver, Washington (not the one in Canada), across the river from Portland, Oregon. I grew up in Oakland, California, and lived in the Bay Area until moving to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1994 for graduate school. Then in 2002, once I had graduated from Louisiana State University (LSU), discovered indexing, and had enough of a start as an indexer to be able to afford to move, I came to the Pacific Northwest.

What is your educational background?

I have a BS in business from University of California, Berkeley, though I consider my “real” education there the variety of courses I took, from anthropology to zoology; then an MA in geography from California State University, Hayward (now “East Bay”), and a PhD in geography from LSU. Geography turned out to be a great broad-based background that really suited my then-unknown future career in indexing. My dissertation—on the poetics of place in public gardens—incorporated geography, anthropology, poetry, existential phenomenology, landscape architecture and history.

My “education” in Louisiana was not just a university education but a cultural one, as I had my first chance to really experience a culture completely different from the San Francisco Bay Area, where I had lived all my life. Southern Louisiana is culturally rich and fascinating, with a mix of Southern, Creole, and Cajun ways of being. And the music and the food! You may still hear me see “y’all” at times, over twenty years after leaving Louisiana.

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

The hobbies that actually get the most of my time are reading and enjoying my collections of CDs and DVDs/Blu-rays (yes, on the physical discs—old school!). I enjoy facilitating classes at the Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, where I am a member (topics such as “The Imagination and the Soul”). I find less time to engage with my pianist self and my poet self, though in the past I had a couple poems published and had the pleasure of doing a multi-media poetry reading with a friend of mine who later became the poet laureate of Louisiana.

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

Prior to graduate school, I was a corporate accountant. I’m not still doing that, thank heavens, but I do find that it involves some skills similar to indexing—organizing information and putting it “in place.” I just much more enjoy doing that with concepts instead of numbers. I’ve been a full-time indexer for twenty-two years now.

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

I found it very helpful when I switched my mindset from “I have to get x number pages done today” to “I want to put in this many hours today.” Both changing from “have to” to “want to” and then from number of pages to number of hours felt more self-affirming and have helped me to focus more. When it was the number of pages, that was disempowering because it felt like the proofs were in control rather than me. So it’s now my hours rather than their pages. Not that I still don’t struggle with focus at times. Meditation also helps.

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

I joined ASI in 1999 as I was taking the USDA Indexing course from Kari Kells, and I started indexing after completing the course. Years later, I ended up teaching that same course, now under the Graduate School, from 2009 until the powers that be laid the course to rest in 2015.

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

Well, it’s hard to choose one, but on top I think would be connection with other indexers, especially through both national and chapter meetings. Chapter involvement has been particularly valuable, and I’ve served on the board of the Pacific Northwest Chapter several times, in almost every role. I’ve also taught workshops at both the national and chapter levels.

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

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