See Also—September 2023

ASI News
—Donation puts rich archive of ASI history and indexing knowledge at your fingertips
—Learn about Art Indexing in 3-part Online Learning Course
—Retirement among Indexing Playground discussions
—Webinar will focus on diacritics in SKY
—Share benefits of ASI
—Volunteer needed on Membership Committee
Chapters and SIGS
—PNW to host program on avoiding "rookie mistakes"
Associated Industry News
—Learn about ISC/SCI bursary
Business and Marketing
—Freelancer protection measures grow
—Reminder: 3rd-quarter taxes due
Spotlight on Alexandra Nickerson

ASI News

Donation puts rich archive of ASI history and indexing knowledge at your fingertips

A valuable trove of ASI and indexing history is now available to members, thanks to longtime ASI member and volunteer Carolyn Weaver.

Carolyn has donated and had scanned her eleven-year collection of printed newsletters and Key Words issues, spanning from 1991 to 2002. This includes the inaugural issue of the then-Key Words "bulletin"—in July/August 1992.

Available at Publications/Key Words/Key Words Archives or through this link, you can explore past conferences and chapter meetings, Wilson Award contests and winners, and read about the issues indexers were discussing as software was advancing and the internet was taking hold, including Nancy Mulvany's “Time to Get Online!” (page 10 of May/June 1991 newsletter).

These new archives are added to the already-existing digital archive of Key Words, starting with the January 2003 issue. In addition, there are indexes for 1994 to 1999 and 2000 to 2016, which enable members to search for specific indexing topics in past issues of Key Words.

Learn about Art Indexing in 3-part Online Learning Course

The full spectrum of art indexing—from exhibition catalogs to academic titles—will be explored in an ASI three-part Online Learning Course in October. The program is on consecutive Wednesdays: October 11, 18 and 25.

Theresa Duran, ASI's current president, is the presenter. She is a former staff editor at a publishing house that specialized in art books and products for museum gift shops.

The course begins with an overview of the field, then dives into the handling of artist names, art titles, captions, and illustration locators. It wraps up with practical tips and strategies for avoiding clashes with clients, troubleshooting common problems (including index length restrictions), and finding work.

Each session is filled with examples from actual art books. Both novice and experienced indexers could benefit from the range of material that will be explored. Plus, some of the tactics covered can be applied to books in other disciplines.

A detailed look at the curriculum and registration information are available here.

Retirement among Indexing Playground discussions

 TExtract ASI's first virtual Indexing Playground on August 9 provided an opportunity for informal chats among ASI members in several theme-based Zoom rooms. These included side hustle indexers, BIPOC indexers, parenting indexers, and indexers planning for retirement.

One thought from that last group is this: older indexers don’t retire, they just weed out their clients. The session, hosted by Carolyn Weaver, included about eight indexers, ranging from those semi-retired to those looking toward retirement on the horizon. Carolyn defined semi-retirement as “having all the work I want to do in the amount of time I want to spend on it.” After assessing where each indexer was on the retirement timeline, the group discussed reasons we keep working, succession planning for health or other emergencies, and when to take Social Security benefits. That decision will depend on several factors such as age-related benefit rules and family financial status. Carolyn also pointed out the rules of a Simplified Employee Pension IRA (SEP) for the self-employed. Of course, professional advice on retirement planning is always advisable. It was a good discussion on the playground!

Watch for more Indexing Playgrounds in the coming months.

Nan Badgett

Webinar will focus on diacritics in SKY

It's not too late to register for "Using Diacritics in SKY," the September 13 webinar on using the character map and translation manager in SKY software. Longtime indexer and SKY user Ælfwine Mischler is the presenter. She will discuss how to handle diacritics efficiently, saving time and enhancing production.

More details and registration information are available here.

Share benefits of ASI

The Key Words archives, new Indexing Playground program and Online Learning Courses detailed above are all benefits of ASI membership.

Help ASI grow by sharing information about these and other benefits with others interested in the field. There is a Membership Referral Program running through October:

  • Current ASI members who refer an indexer to ASI—and that person joins—are eligible to receive a tote bag with the ASI logo or one free webinar replay of their choice.
  • Recruited new members will receive an ASI membership pin and one free webinar replay.

Full details about the program are here.

Volunteer needed on Membership Committee

To welcome new members, ASI has a Membership Committee—which is looking for one volunteer to fill a vacancy.

In this position, you would contact new members to welcome them and answer any questions they have about ASI, and learn how they became interested in indexing. Each volunteer needs do this only once a year for two consecutive months. The committee's volunteers find these tasks to be enjoyable and informative, according to chairperson Mamta Jha.

Email Mamta if you can help, and she will share all the details.

Chapters and SIGS

PNW to host program on avoiding “rookie mistakes”

Pilar Wyman will be the guest speaker at the Pacific Northwest Chapter's Fall Meeting on Saturday, November 4, 2023. Pilar's presentation will be "Best Practices to Avoid Rookie Mistakes." The meeting will include Q &A time as well as post-presentation breakout sessions for indexers to get to know each other (organized from early-career indexers to late-career and retirement.)

Register by October 21. The program is free for PNW chapter members, $5 for ASI members who aren’t PNW chapter members, and $10 for everyone else. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with a link for non-chapter members to pay online.


Associated Industry News

Learn about ISC/SCI bursary

The Indexing Society of Canada (ISC/SCI) will hold an online informational session on September 19 about its Diversity in Canadian Publishing Bursary.

The bursary is part of ISC/SCI’s program focused on increasing diverse voices in the Canadian publishing industry to help achieve equality of opportunity for aspiring indexers belonging to underrepresented and/or marginalized groups.

The application deadline for the 2023 bursary is October 6. Go to the application webpage for full information.

Business and Marketing

Freelancer protection measures grow

Illinois joined several major cities, including Los Angeles and New York, in offering new protections for freelance workers.

The Freelancer Worker Protection Act was signed in August by Governor J.B. Pritzker. This is the first statewide law with protections such as timely payment and the right to a written contract. It goes into effect in July 2024.

Similar statewide measures are in various legislative stages in New York, Missouri and several other states.

Reminder: 3rd-quarter taxes due

For those self-employed indexers who pay estimated quarterly taxes, a reminder that the third-quarter payments are due on September 15. This is for income earned June 1 to August 31, 2023. See the IRS's 1040-ES for details.

Spotlight on Alexandra Nickerson

This month's Spotlight is on Alexandra Nickerson, a longtime indexer and ASI's current secretary. She has served many positions, including president. Alexandra can be reached at by email.

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 am originally from Western Massachusetts. After spending nineteen years in Pittsburgh and thirteen in Cincinnati, I finally fulfilled my long-time wish to return to New England and moved to northern Vermont to be near my son and his family. I live in a condo in Williston with my partner and my very energetic nine-month-old Bengal cat, Sula.

What is your educational background?

I have a BA in psychology from Brown University. After moving to Pittsburgh, I earned an MEd in rehabilitation counseling at the University of Pittsburgh, and when I took on a managerial role, returned to Pitt to earn an MBA.

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

In my spare time, I am a fiber artist—and a fabricholic. I love working in my studio, where I can enjoy the wall of multicolored fabric as a backdrop. My most recent pieces are collages, mostly of flowers and some of roosters, as well as of game fish.

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

I began indexing while I was at Brown, before I embarked on my “other” career. My mom, a research biochemist, indexed books in biochemistry in the evenings (that is how she funded my tuition). When a request for an index for a psychology book came in, she asked the client if she could work with me to write it, and thus began my career as an indexer—in 1965. I found that I really enjoyed the work, and under her mentorship, I continued indexing part time. At the time, the work was done by hand-printing index cards and alphabetizing them, then marking them up for the printer and shipping the box of cards to the client—and praying that it would not get lost or damaged. I would begin the work on galleys, then receive dummy pages, and finally pages with final folios. Pages arrived on schedule, and almost never was there any slippage in schedules!

In 1986, funding cutbacks led to layoffs in the rehabilitation field, and I let my indexing clients know that temporarily I would be available to take on more projects until I found another rehab position. I never found time to look for that position and became a full-time indexer from then on.

In the early 1980s, a friend adapted a database program so that I could use it on the Carnegie-Mellon University mainframe to create indexes. The end-products were supplied on tapes (not the little ones—they were in twelve-inch tins), which I had to convince clients to accept. A few years later, I bought my first desktop computer and with another database modified by my husband, went to work. That computer had a 5 MB hard drive, and I knew I’d never fill up all that space. It was necessary, though, to finish up inputting in the evening in order to have a sorted index by the time I’d finished breakfast the next morning, for an index of a couple of thousand entries. Then came the day when, after waiting overnight and then some, the computer coughed and said it could not sort the index.

From there I moved on to a desktop with lots more capacity and I bought Cindex (for DOS), and I was in heaven! Many computers later, I still use Cindex, though I held out on making the switch to the Windows version as long as I could. I found the Gateway programmable keyboard to be a great tool to cut down on keystrokes, and was very sad when Gateway stopped making them. A Logitech gaming keyboard has stepped in to fill that void. And now instead of all the proofs that I used to receive, I’m using an iPad Pro, so I can still mark up my pages, but don’t have all that paper to lug around and dispose of. My mom would be amazed!

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

When I’m feeling stuck, I like to go down to my studio and work on a fabric project. When I’m into one of them, the cares of the world seem to evaporate.

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

I wrote my first index in 1965. And for many years we ate off the dining room table that the proceeds went to purchase.

I joined ASI in 1977. I served as a member of the Board of Directors from 1993-1996, as vice president/president-elect in 1996-1997, and president in 1997-1998. I am currently serving as secretary. In addition, I have presented workshops and lectures at a number of annual meetings, served as chair of the Education Committee in 1994-1996, chair of the Wilson Award Committee in 1993-1996, and chair of the ASI Excellence in Indexing Award Committee in 2017. I served as president of the Heartlands Chapter in 1994-1995. I have always found my membership valuable, and I definitely feel that ASI gave me more than I gave to ASI. I have developed many friendships with indexing colleagues through ASI and have learned a great deal through chapter and national meetings and workshops. I found serving on the various committees and as an officer to be very rewarding experiences—and frequently a great deal of fun.

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

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