See Also—September 2020

ASI News
—New ASI online learning opportunity: Culinary Indexing-Food for Thought
—Membership Health Insurance Benefit
—New index for Mueller report
Chapter/SIG News
—NEASI 2020 Summer Virtual Meeting: From whence the sewing machine?
—Culinary indexing resources
—Upcoming Pacific Northwest Chapter fall meeting
Other Industry News
The Indexer may arrive late
—Researchers survey the gig economy
Business and Marketing
—Consider your peers...
Spotlight—Jen Weers

ASI News

New ASI online learning opportunity: Culinary Indexing—Food for Thought

Amy Hall presents Culinary Indexing—Food for Thought, a three session online learning course from ASI. Session one is an introduction to cookbook editing, session two covers cookbooks that use specialty ingredients or that focus on one style of cooking or one subject, and session three covers all the unique challenges of indexing cookbooks. Read more about the opportunity here.

Amy Hall is a contributing author to the ASI Publication Indexing Specialties: Cookbooks and has been indexing both comprehensive and specialty cookbooks since 2006.

ASI Membership Health Insurance Benefit

The American Society for Indexing is excited to announce a new membership health insurance benefit that can help keep you, your family, and even your business cost-effectively covered and healthy.

We have partnered with LIG Solutions to be able to offer you 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. Learn more on the ASI website.

New index for Mueller report

Recently, ASI member Peter Rooney posted this message and link in the ASIndexing forum:

“Dear colleagues, I am sharing here my recently completed index to the Mueller Report.

"I began this project following the publication of The Report [Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election] last year by various publishers. While hundreds of thousands of copies were sold, none of the editions came with an adequate index, making them very difficult reading. A few editions were online, but the search function, if available, was not effective. The Mueller Report, in these formats, was crippled, lacking an index.

"Now that I have completed the index, my goal is to distribute it widely. You are welcome to forward this message and its link to those who you think would be interested. I also invite you to examine the index. Any suggestions will be seriously considered.”

Thank you to Peter for undertaking this vitally important work.

Chapter/SIG News

NEASI 2020 Summer Virtual Meeting: From whence the sewing machine?

The New England Chapter of ASI (NEASI) presented their 2020 Summer Virtual Meeting in June which featured an index review exercise. Attendees were given the manuscript The Invention of the Sewing Machine by Grace Rogers Cooper beforehand and asked to create an index for the book. At the meeting, attendees discussed the challenges of the text and compared notes regarding personal approaches to index structure. This is a popular exercise as evidenced by the index review session at the Pacific Northwest Chapter’s Fall 2019 meeting and the Naked Indexer workshop with Fred Leise at the ASI 2020 Virtual Conference.

Participants came from all over the US and from outside the country as well with representatives from Cairo and Montreal. The experience level ran from newbie to professional with forty years of experience, and specialty areas included Egyptology, law, social sciences, home/garden, music, dog care and breeding, biography, and cartography.

Some of the notable challenges of the text included the difficulty of nailing down a metatopic (what is the book actually about?), whether to use a main heading for the metatopic once identified (with the usual split opinions), and the inconsistency of the writing, which tended to change according to the references and resources the author was drawing upon. A particularly challenging task was deciding how to format and index the plethora of patents: by patentee name, title of patent, year of patent, or part patented.

Organizers of the event, Joan Shapiro and Michelle Guiliano, circulated a survey after the meeting with the following results: 60% of attendees completed the index, 40% did not; 50% of attendees participated in the survey; although all participants said they would attend another index review event, the top choice for the type of event they’d like to attend the most was one with a featured speaker. Although NEASI has no upcoming events, they are in the planning stages for a meeting with a featured speaker. Visit the chapter’s website for more information on their activities.

Thank you Joan and Michelle for an excellent experience.

Culinary indexing resources

After completing the upcoming ASI Culinary Indexing course (or simply out of professional curiosity), why not head over to the Culinary Indexing SIG website to investigate their extensive list of resources and to consider joining the special interest group. From culinary indexing articles to online reference sources for culinary indexing to food and ingredient glossaries to professional culinary organizations, the list is exhaustive and comprehensive; although, a few of the links are in need of updating. Also, the SIG has migrated their discussion list to Google Groups. You need to be a member of the SIG to participate in the discussions, another good reason to join. The Culinary Indexing SIG, like all special interest groups, is open to members of ASI and affiliated societies.

Upcoming Pacific Northwest Chapter fall meeting

The PNW Chapter is planning a virtual meeting on Saturday, September 26, from 10:00–11:30, Pacific time. The first hour of the meeting will focus on workplace locations and ergonomics, with some participants sharing photos of their workplaces as a framework for the discussion. The annual business meeting and volunteer recognition time will follow.

Registration will be limited to twenty two people, with a priority period for PNW members and residents from August 19 to September 16, after which registration opens to anyone who is interested, up to the limit. Find more information on the PNW website or contact PNW Program Chair Sam Arnold-Boyd at

Other Industry News

The Indexer may arrive late

Due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, printed copies of The Indexer are likely to arrive later than normal outside the UK, but in the meantime, subscribers can still read the online version. In addition, the publishers have decided to continue making past issues available online.

Researchers survey the gig economy

Researchers at University of Manitoba are conducting surveys to understand how gig work can be improved. They recently invited members of the Editorial Freelancers Association to participate in a study of how independent professional workers experience their work. They will share the results of their studies with participants through executive summaries. Although this particular survey is closed, you can follow this link to sign up for future surveys.

Business and Marketing

Consider your peers…


Started by Martha Osgood some twenty years ago, the Index-Peer-Review forum (formerly IndexPeers) is an ideal place for newbies to receive valuable critique and for veterans to share their knowledge to assist the development of professionals new to indexing. In fact, anyone can request a review or be a reviewer regardless of their experience and still benefit from the process. From the forum’s managers:

“…you can benefit from this group by asking for a peer review or by volunteering to review an index…If you ask for a review, you will benefit from the suggestions of several reviewers, and your index will benefit from reviews by indexers rather than an ordinary proofreader. It's often easier for others to see where your index needs improvement when you have been working on it for so long. And because they have not seen the text, the reviewers might find entries that would be confusing to the book’s readers. If you review an index for someone, you will exercise your own critical eye, and you might learn from the good practices of the reviewee or from the reviews of others.”

Inquiries about joining the list or requests to have an index reviewed should be addressed to: In addition, the Pacific Northwest Chapter has an excellent guide to the peer index review process.


Jen Weers

If you would like to be in the Spotlight, or would like to nominate someone for it, please contact Daniel Heila.

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

Other than a couple of years on the North Dakota side of the Fargo-Moorhead area in college, I’ve spent my entire life in Minnesota. I grew up in rural Minnesota (“outstate” for the locals), but now live in a suburb of St. Paul (the “Cities” for the locals). I have three kids—my oldest is in college in Ohio and my younger two are in high school—and also live with my husband of twenty-four years and with three fur babies.

What is your educational background?

I graduated college with a dual major in English and Mass Communications with a concentration in public relations. For my indexing studies I took the ASI course.

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

I am on the board of directors for a nonprofit called The Drawer. Our mission is to provide warmth and dignity through new socks and underwear. We serve the homeless, under and unemployed, and others suffering financially.

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

I worked in advertising and public relations both on the agency and client sides. I started staying home when my first daughter was born, and by the time I was ready to go back to work, I had no desire to sit in an office. I did a little editing work before finding indexing.

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

I joined ASI immediately as one of my first steps in beginning to index. I had my first client in 2013 (it was a bit of baptism by fire—it was a monograph on public restrooms and the impact they have on nonbinary identities).

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

There are so many things, but I really enjoy the feeling of having colleagues. Working solo can be isolating and, in my case, can cause a bit of imposter syndrome. ASI and its members provide me with a group of others who help me have confidence in myself as a professional, an outlet to collaborate with others, and a way to grow my leadership skills. I am very grateful for ASI and all of its members.

Finally, what is your best coping strategy for the pandemic?

Um…I’ll let you know when I figure it out?

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