See Also—October 2022

ASI News
—Abstracting is focus of newest webinar
—How did Phyllis Diller end up on the cover of Key Words?
—Access newsletters from sister societies
—”What's in a Name?” available until Dec. 4
Chapters and SIGS
—PNW Chapter explores indexing for today's readers
—Chapter revamps its website
—Share chapter and SIG news
Health Tip
—Open Enrollment for Some Members Starts October 15
Associated Industry News
—New co-president named at ISC/SCI
Business and Marketing
—Dive into book-focused podcasts
Spotlight on Mamta Jha

ASI News

Abstracting is focus of newest webinar

The webinar "An Introduction to Abstracting: A Way to Enhance Your Indexing" was presented on Sept. 28. Lisa Ryan, founder and developer of Stellar Searches LLC, explained the value of abstracts, demonstrated the skills used and gave a look at how abstracting can enhance an indexing business.

Long-term access to the replay is available online here.

How did Phyllis Diller end up on the cover of Key Words?

While indexing a book for the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Amy Hall learned of Phyllis Diller's so-called gag file, donated to the Smithsonian decades ago. In the cover story for the fall issue of Key Words, Hall explores the multi-phase project of transcribing and archiving the expansive collection, which includes more than 50,000 index cards with jokes and quips written by the famed comedian.

The new issue of ASI's quarterly journal also explores:

  • A glossary of common subheading phrases, in the Paratext column by Fred Leise.
  • Major changes afoot in the publishing industry, by Janet Perlman.
  • The value of indexer discussion list, by Diana Witt.
  • How to index "how-to" books, by Nan Badgett.
  • Archiving of manuscript collections, by Michele Combs.
  • Keyboard shortcuts to boost productivity, by Daniel Heila.

Key Words will be available soon to ASI members and subscribers online here.

Access newsletters from sister societies


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 has recently made these newsletters easier for members to access.

To see what indexers are doing in other countries and how approaches to indexing may differ, visit this page on the ASI website. The summer issue from the Indexing Society of Canada/Société canadienne d'indexation (ISC/SCI) and the August issue of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers (ANZSI) have recently been posted.

Devon Thomas, International Representative, ASI

”What's in a Name?” available until Dec. 4

Replays of the four sessions in ASI's "What's in a Name? Invert Your Thorns into Roses" have been available to those who registered for the original event, held in December 2021. However, the one-year period for replays will end on Dec. 4, 2022. You can rewatch the videos and download the handouts online here.

Chapters and SIGS

PNW Chapter explores indexing for today's readers

Breaking Convention on Behalf of the Modern Reader brought together thirty indexers and prospective indexers at the ASI Pacific Northwest Chapter's virtual meeting on Sept. 24.

Cynthia Landeen's presentation started with a historical overview of indexing rules in guidebooks, such as Henry B. Wheatley's How to Make an Index (1902).

Next, she proposed that the standard rules for handling acronyms and initialisms (CAT scan, MRI) in trade books and K-12 textbooks do not serve the modern reader, and much debate followed.

Cynthia focused next on how Google searching has affected the way people look for information. She connected the patterns of such searches with the word order of subheadings, contending that today's readers do not do well with reversals (e.g., fireplace, installing) and are better served by a forward construction (fireplace installation). This proposal also generated a lot of worthwhile discussion.

Such discussions were enriched by the diversity of the participants, who represented a full range of experience along with many indexing specialties. All came away with a richer understanding of the axiom "It depends."

Attendees hailed from as far away as Egypt and India, and points all over the United States and Canada, as well as from the Pacific Northwest area.

Judy Staigmiller and Sam Arnold-Boyd

Chapter revamps its website

The Pacific Northwest Chapter has a redesigned website and a new URL, at The chapter thanks indexer and web designer Joanne Sprott of Cosmic Whispers Design for her work on the update.

Share chapter and SIG news

There are ten regional chapters of the American Society for Indexing and a variety of Special Interest Groups. Events and networking take place throughout the year. Please tell us what is happening in your chapter or SIG by emailing See Also.

Health Tip

Open Enrollment for Some Members Starts October 15

As we near the end of 2022, we enter Open Enrollment Period for both Medicare and Under 65. Whether you are searching for a program for you or for a member of your family, ASI members can turn to LIG Solutions for all their insurance needs. LIG is your advocate for finding the perfect plan for you. Medicare Open Enrollment is right around the corner—beginning October 15 and running through December 7, and Under 65 Standard Open Enrollment starts November 1 and runs through December 15. Now is the time to schedule time to talk with an LIG advisor about your options. You can speak directly to LIG's team of licensed agents to learn about no-obligation health insurance options that are the best fit for you and your family. Learn more about your options by visiting the Health Insurance Benefits page.

Associated Industry News

New co-president named at ISC/SCI

Jolanta Komornicka assumed the role of co-president of the Indexing Society of Canada / Société canadienne d'indexation (ISC/SCI) when Tere Mullin had to step down from the position she held since March. Alexandra Peace is co-president. Both are also members of ASI. Good luck to Jolanta and Alexandra in their leadership roles!

Business and Marketing

Dive into book-focused podcasts

Joshua Tallent, who spoke on "The Art of Indexing in the Age of Automation" at ASI's annual conference in April, hosts the BookSmarts podcast. Tallent, whose work focuses on the role of data in publishing, shares the podcasting mike with other experts in the publishing field. Recent topics have included independent publishing, Open Access ebooks, and the growth of audiobooks.

If you enjoy podcasts, for professional or personal insight, there are many that focus on books, reading and publishing. Here are a few:

The Librarian is In from the New York Public Library, explores books, culture, and what to read next.

Just the Right Book! is hosted by independent bookstore owner Roxanne Coady. She features fiction and non-fiction authors, getting the inside scoop on how their books evolved—and in the process leaves her listeners with a long reading list.

Publishers Weekly offers a family of podcasts, including "Week Ahead," which explores news and trends in publishing.

There are several podcast apps, including Apple, Stitcher and Spotify, but many are also available via organizations' websites.

If you have a favorite book- or publishing-related podcast, please share it with the See Also Editor.

Spotlight on Mamta Jha

This month's Spotlight is on freelance indexer Mamta Jha.
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 Noida, Uttar Pradesh, which is in the northern part of India. I live with my husband of 20 years and my younger daughter. My elder one went off to college this year. I don't have any pets, though my daughter frequently insists on adopting one.

What is your educational background?

I have a bachelor's degree in botany, and a master's in operations management. I also earned a certification program in Java programming.

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

I am an extremely curious person and love to read non-fiction and research topics that interest me. I love traveling and have been to a lot of places, both in India and abroad. My father had a transferable job and I got to study in different cities in India. I also like gardening and have a lot of plants at home. During the COVID-19 lockdown period, I learned Madhubani painting (an Indian folk art form) and now enjoy sketching and painting during my free time.

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

Before starting my indexing career, I worked as a Java programmer. I am not into programming anymore.

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

I usually go out for long walks when I feel stuck or demotivated after extensive hours of reading. Music also helps to refresh my mind.

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

I started with database indexing and abstracting projects for Elsevier publishing. I later joined Macmillan India as an in-house indexer. I joined ASI in 2007 and started freelance indexing in 2012.

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

For me, an ASI membership provides me with an opportunity to meet and network with other indexers face-to-face. After attending almost all the national conferences in the last eleven years, I have managed to meet some wonderful people who have been so very encouraging. The opportunity to get work through the Indexer Locator has been invaluable to me.

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