See Also—September 2018

A crisp change in the air, a hint of color on the trees, and a new season of learning opportunities: Fall is just around the corner!

ASI Online Learning: Legal Indexing with Lynne Williams
ASI Webinar Replay: Indexing Lives: Savvy Strategies for Indexing Biographies and Memoirs with Connie Binder
Upcoming ASI Chapter Events
Western New York
Pacific Northwest
Chicago-Great Lakes
Recent SIG Events
Spotlight—Jan Wright

ASI Online Learning: Legal Indexing, a Three-Part Series
with Lynne Williams

October 25, November 1, and November 8, 2018

Presented by attorney Lynne Williams, this three-part course is designed for those who are interested in entering the field of legal indexing as well as those who seek to move from indexing of related areas that are not wholly the purview of attorneys into more specialized legal areas. For example, an indexer may have experience working with texts that are often utilized by non-lawyers, such as human relations texts, and would now like to learn to index texts that are highly legally specialized, such as bankruptcy law or constitutional law.

The topic areas include:

  1. Introduction to legal indexing.
  2. Types of legal texts an indexer might be asked to index and types of clients.
  3. Use of proprietary online legal sites, types of locators, metatopics, topical headings and subtopics.
  4. Planning the structure architecture, including supplemental indexing and periodic re-indexing.
  5. Standards in legal indexing, special challenges, finding and working with legal clients.
  6. Reference materials.

Lynne Williams is a practicing attorney who also has a doctorate in Social Psychology. She has taught courses, seminars and workshops on legal topics as well as on the intersection of law and social science. Lynne is an experienced editor and indexer, has published multiple professional articles, and has a small solo law practice in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Mark your calendar now. For more info and to register visit this page.

ASI Webinar: Indexing Lives: Savvy Strategies for Indexing Biographies and Memoirs
with Connie Binder

Connie Binder presented a webinar Indexing Lives: Savvy Strategies for Indexing Biographies and Memoirs on August 29. Connie presented an overview of the issues indexers commonly encounter when indexing biographies, and provided strategies for dealing with them, including data entry tips and resources to consult. If you registered for the webinar, you can view the replay at any time. Or visit that page to add the webinar to your educational resources.

Check out all of ASI’s webinars and other online learning options.

Upcoming ASI Chapter Events

Western New York Chapter Fall Meeting

Saturday, September 8, 2018

10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Tompkins County Public Library, Ithaca, NY

CindexIn the morning session, Pilar Wyman will present on Embedded Indexing: Tips and Techniques, Software Programs, and Best Practices. There will be demonstrations and plenty of time for questions. You are invited to bring your laptop for this interactive workshop. See the July See Also for more details.

Pacific Northwest Chapter 2018 Fall Meeting

Saturday, September 15

Springhill Marriott Suites
Vancouver, WA, (a 15-minute drive from the Portland, OR airport)

Sessions include Indexing in Digital Environments, New Tax Law, Disaster Planning for Your Business, and a “Knotty Bits” group discussion.

Read more in the June newsletter or go to the PNW website for more information and a link to the registration packet.

The Chicago-Great Lakes Chapter Fall 2018 Workshop


Friday, October 26–Saturday, October 27

Hilton Garden Inn
Des Plaines, Illinois

Sessions include Indexing Names, Genealogical Indexes, How to be the Interface between Publishers and Digital Indexing Techniques, CUP/XML WordEmbed, Brilliantly Structured Indexes Redux. Read more in the June newsletter visit the Chicago/Great Lakes Chapter website for details (including hotel accommodation information) and registration.

Recent SIG Events

The History/Archaeology Special Interest Group held its first virtual peer review on August 20. Judi Gibbs, of Write Guru, led the discussion, while Ælfwine Mischler, the SIG leader, moderated. Participants joined the one-hour session to review two anonymously submitted indexes. The discussion was lively and covered not only the indexes at hand but some general indexing principles. Feedback from both experienced and newer indexers was positive, and the History/Archaeology SIG hopes to hold more peer reviews in the future as a means of professional development.


Jan Wright is the discussion moderator of the Digital Publications Indexing SIG, and she often presents at conferences on digital indexing. In addition to the usual personal questions, I asked for her thoughts on training new indexers. If you would like to be in the Spotlight or nominate someone else, contact the editor, Ælfwine Mischler.

Where do you live now? Where are you originally from? Do you share your home with pets or family?

My husband Chris and I live in the mountains to the east of Albuquerque, New Mexico. We’ve lived out here since 1999, in a solar-heated home that we built. He and I were both born in New Jersey, him in North Jersey, me in South Jersey. But his family moved west when he was six years old, and I didn’t move west until I was out of college, so we didn’t meet until much later.

Our house is in piñon woods, and we have a large family of lizards and hummingbirds around us. We finally named some of the lizards—Vera, Chuck, Dave, Microlizard, and Nanolizard—and they come and hang out with us in the late afternoons. They love our brick patio, where they sit and watch over the edge for bugs. We also have stinkbugs passing through, looking for whatever it is stinkbugs look for. We watch out for them, as according to the Zuni tribe, stinkbugs are the last incarnation before becoming a Kachina god. So we try not to step on them, lest we make a Kachina. We also get visits from bears, foxes, skunks, skinks, owls, and ring-tails. We are on the Rocky Mountain migration route, so we have a lot of birds passing through.

What is your educational background?

I have a BA with Honors in Anthropology from Rutgers University, and a Masters in Library Science from the University of Arizona. My indexing studies were with Nancy Mulvany, lucky me! Having Nancy teach me indexing was a gift.

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

My hobbies are knitting, watercolors, jewelry making, and gardening. Chris and I love to travel, and we are looking forward to a visit to Oregon this fall. We have enjoyed our trips to Australia and New Zealand, Scotland, Canada, Mexico, and many national parks in the US. We own a 1984 Volkswagen Westfalia camper van, which is an antique, and we have a lot of fun camping out. We have taken it on many journeys in the west, to Yellowstone, to the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona, and throughout Colorado and New Mexico. We try to ride historic trains whenever and wherever we can.

ASI_SunglassesMany of our travels in the past few years have revolved around Chris’s book Silver Rails: The Railroads of Leadville, Colorado, which we self-published together. That was quite the feat, and we are very proud of the response it has received. It was a finalist in the Gift Books category for the Southwest Book Design and Production Award in 2016. We’ve sold out the first printing and are getting to the end of the second printing. (If you want one before they are all gone, please visit

Chris is also the editor of The Dispatch, the quarterly magazine of the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, and I am now the assistant editor. It gets busy around here with proofing and copyediting right before each issue has to go to press. It’s been great to get to know the Friends volunteers, and astounding to see them rebuilding a scenic railroad car by car and restoring the buildings and signage, all with historic accuracy, and reporting to the State Historic Preservation Officer. We get to ride the train at least once every summer.

I am also a member of the Grateful Dead Scholars Caucus and work with the director of the group before each year’s conference, which luckily takes place here in Albuquerque. I try to help coordinate locations and dining options with the director and help get things set up.

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

I spent 10 years as a professional librarian, starting out as Research Librarian for the Navajo Nation Library System, then Director of that system. I also worked at the Arizona State Museum Library (an archaeological and anthropological collection) at the University of Arizona library as a Library Skills technician and reference desk manager, and I ran the Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs library as my last library position. When we moved to Seattle in the 1980s, I could NOT find a library job, as there were 500 applicants for each job. California had just passed Proposition 13 a few years before, which devastated the job market for librarians, and every open job in the west during those years was flooded with applications. But, by chance, I had administered a computer lab in my Steamboat library and had to do tech support for all the students. They were learning PageMaker on the very first Macintosh computers, with the very first beta version of PageMaker, and I learned it too by helping them with their mistakes and issues.

That knowledge of PageMaker got me a job at Aldus Corporation in Seattle, where I worked in the documentation department. I was with Aldus for five years, and learned book production inside and out. I did layout, design, and artwork, set up the file management and file archiving systems, coordinated handoffs to translation, and trained new production artists.

I have used the book design and layout skills a lot — knowing PageMaker and then InDesign has been invaluable in my indexing career. And the book production skills helped a lot in our work on Silver Rails, as we managed the entire prepress production of the book ourselves.

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

I started my indexing business in 1991, when Aldus was undergoing some very grim changes. (It was eventually bought by Adobe.) I signed up for the USDA indexing course with Nancy Mulvany and was still working through it when I got my first indexing jobs. One of the earliest was with Microsoft, and the job was to take a print index and transform it into an online one. This was before there were standardized Help systems in Microsoft products, so each project was rather free-form, and each time we coded the index in different ways. We were making the interface up as we went along, trying to find the most usable way to present indexes online. It was fascinating, but I could only hope I was doing it the best way.

I had heard about ASI, and I thought that if I joined, there would be some folks who would have experience in what I was doing with online Help indexes. And it turned out that we were all trying to figure out beginning standards and best practices for that new area. I think the first conference I went to was in 1993.

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

Other indexers, it is that simple. So much of our work is solitary, and ASI gives us all the chance to bounce ideas off of each other, come up with ways to do projects, learn from each other, and get to know each other. Many minds help figure things out.

ASI really supported the Digital Trends Task Force goals, and I felt that we got a lot accomplished by being representatives of ASI, more then we could as individuals. I appreciated ASI’s support and backing while we were pushing so hard to get things changed in the ebook world.

I see ASI’s webinars as being a great way to reach across distances and get information to members. That is such a valuable resource, and having them recorded means that people can return to review sections as they need to.

You have so much experience coming up through the ranks in-house. In my editors’ circles, the older members bemoan the fact that so many publishing houses in the 1980s laid off staff and the newer editors, often freelancers, don’t have the same experience of learning from others. Do you see similar problems in the indexing field? Do you have ideas on how newer indexers can be trained? I see many of the experienced indexers retiring, and I wonder if new indexers are getting the same training as in the past. What are your thoughts?

That’s an interesting question. I don’t see similar issues in the indexing field. When I was learning indexing, there was only one course, and it didn’t cover any technology or software. These days the beginning indexer has several courses to choose from, and some of the courses make sure that the indexer is exposed to software. For instance, the UC Berkeley course has units on embedding and taxonomies, and the students get demo copies of Cindex, Macrex, and Sky to work with during their course. So I think students today are able to not only get the theory and practice training they need, but also the technical training they need. And with ASI’s webinars and conference workshops, they can continue their training with advanced technique sessions.

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