ASI Online Learning Course Replay: Legal Indexing, a 3-part class, with Lynne Williams, JD

Legal Indexing

Three-Part Series with Lynne Williams


This course is designed for novice indexers who are interested in entering the field of legal indexing, as well as for those experienced indexers who seek to move from non-legal indexing into specialized legal areas. Legal indexing has a wide range, from indexing texts that are utilized by lawyers and non-lawyers alike, to indexing extremely specialized texts on topics such as bankruptcy, securities and constitutional law. The importance of legal indexing cannot be overstated since legal texts comprise the written legal history of the U.S and other countries throughout the world. And, that history is changing daily.

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.

Session One: “Introduction of Legal Texts and the Complexity of Legal Indexes”

The range of texts that a legal indexer might be asked to index is large and varied. This session will include a discussion of these texts, as well as of the types of clients that an indexer might contract with, including authors, legal publishers and code book, encyclopedia and text book publishers. In addition, we will have an introductory discussion of some aspects of legal indexing that are most unique when compared to other types of indexing, including the large and complex nature of legal indexes, as well as an overview on planning the legal index.

Session Two: “Index Architecture and Legal Locators”

Planning the structural architecture of the legal index requires specific approaches, due to the nature of legal writing. This session will include a discussion of legal reference locators, including page numbers, case citations and section numbers. Also included will be a discussion of the use of multiple legal metatopics, which should provide the user a multi-level map to the topical index.

Session Three: “Keeping Indexes Up to Date and In Multiple Formats”

Since the law is constantly changing, there has always been a requirement that most legal indexes must be frequently supplemented and regularly updated. This session will include a discussion of supplemental indexing and re-indexing, proprietary online legal publisher sites and the sometimes confusing hypertext links that such publishers employ. Also included will be the role of the indexer in online publications, the information architecture of legal sites, the development of online taxonomical structures and search.

Please note: Attendance at the live sessions is not required. Registration entitles you to “on demand” access to the course and unlimited repeat viewings after the initial sessions have aired. The three sessions are each approximately 60 minutes in length.

Lynne Williams

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.

The live classes took place October 25, November 1, and November 8, 2018

ASI members, please log in to the website for member pricing.

The 3-part class is $349 for non-members, and you will have long-term access to the replays.

After you purchase the class, return to this page to view the three replays and access the handouts for each session.

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