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Production Note



When I began this project, I wanted to create an online subject gateway on the topic of advertising self-regulation.  I soon realized that this topic was too broad and not closely related to library science.  As I thought about what I might like to share and what might benefit librarians and my classmates, I realized that I wanted to create an online index, a guide of sorts, that would help beginning and current indexers find work. 


There are many different ways to go about learning the skills required to become an indexer.  Many universities and library schools offer classes in indexing. The American Society for Indexing offers an online course.  New York University offers a class through its School of Continuing and Professional Studies.  The USDA offers two consecutive correspondence courses.  There are numerous articles, books and videos that teach the “art of indexing.”  For those that want to index, learning the mechanics and rules is a manageable endeavor. 


Once one has obtained the necessary knowledge to index, the challenge is getting hired.  That first book or project is the most important.  It can be difficult to get someone to take you on without any prior work samples.  Finding indexing work is not an exact science.  It requires diligence, time and a little bit of luck.  There are many avenues an indexer can pursue to find work, including responding to job ads, contacting publishers via email, mail or phone, advertising services on job boards and networking through associations. 


This is an index for anyone who would like to work as a freelance indexer.  It serves as an informational guide to aid indexers who need to find work and market themselves.  The index contains links to publisher career pages or contact pages, to services for job hotlines, and to associations, groups and companies that support and employ indexers. 




This index is split into three pages: Job Hunting Resources for Indexers Home Page, Nonfiction Publishers Index and Book Packagers Index.


Home Page: provides informational articles that describe the job finding and procuring process, online job search sources both general and media specific, publishing association job pages, publishers that have posted specific requests for freelancers and indexers and some links to articles and info about getting indexing jobs. 


Nonfiction Publishers Index: provides links to publisher contact info pages.  These pages list staff names, telephone numbers, addresses and email instructions. 


Book Packagers Index: provides information to book packagers, also called book producers.  Many publishing houses are now outsourcing their indexing needs to packagers.  Packagers can be a good source of project work. 


RULES and CRITERIA___________________________________________________


Selection of information to be included:  Publishers included have a website, provide some type of usable contact information and publish more than 10 books a year excluding university presses, which have been added regardless of number of books produced. 


All links in the Nonfiction Publishers Index connect to the contact info for each particular publisher.  The links provided go to the page that gives the best info for an indexer.  Depending on the publisher, the best contact info might be found on the about page, the career page, the staff listing page or on the home page.  Publishers sometimes feature a general call for freelance editorial staff on their websites.  This, however, is rare and those publishers advertising a specific need for indexers or editorial freelancers have been listed separately on the Home Page under, “Publishers Listing Freelance and Indexing Opportunities.” 


I followed the A to Z style of indexing and used letter-by-letter alphabetization applying back-of-the-book indexing rules. 


On the first page, I selected main topics such as “Publisher Associations” and then listed the various entities and websites as sub categories.  This page provides a general overview of sources that are available and important in the indexing job search process.  An alphabetical listing of these entries separately would not provide users with information about the purpose of these entries.  I decided main subject headings would organize these entries and make this index page easier to navigate and understand.


The Nonfiction Publishers Index and Book Packagers Index provide a more traditional A to Z index format listing publishers in alphabetical order by business name.


Chicago Manual of Style rules stipulate that business names using personal names, not be inverted.  I followed this rule.  “Harry N. Abrams,” for example, is found under “H” not “A.”  In a larger index, I might have cross listed this entry under “A” but I did not find this necessary for this index.  The rules also state that when indexing business names, articles such as “the” should be left out.  I followed this rule as well.  “The Learning Company,” for example, is featured in the index without “The” and is listed as “Learning Company.”


Cross-references:  HTML Indexer creates cross-ref entries.  Initially, I intended to include imprints of large publishing houses.  Random House, for instance, publishes books under many imprints, including Doubleday and Knopf.  The entry appeared as “Doubleday.  See Random House,” with a link to Random House in the index.  I decided these cross-refs were not useful and interfered with the readability and flow of the index.  I included a few cross references but only when a large publisher might be casually known by two names such as, “Hobar Publications” which is cross referenced to “Finney-Hobar Company,” where the contact page can be accessed.


I chose the option that allowed me to feature all letters from A to Z on all three pages.  In peer review, this was something that was pointed out as confusing on the first page.  The various subject headings on the Home Page don’t use many letters.  I was able to change this by choosing the option in HTML Indexer that allowed me to omit letters without entries.  Rather than being an alphabetical guide, the “AIJPW” letter bar serves as a quick way to jump to a each subject category.  The other two index pages feature all letters. Letters that don’t have any entries are combined with letters that do (i.e. G-H).  This made sense for the alphabetical listing of companies as most letters were used.




Index Content Gathering:  I searched the Web for sources of information on job searching, publishing and indexing, selecting those sources I found most useful.  I also searched through the Writer’s Market and available association publisher listings to find nonfiction publishers. 


After gathering the relevant websites, I began entering the information into HTML Indexer, an indexing software tool that creates HTML indexes with an A to Z linked bar.  This process was extremely time-consuming.  I found that as with back-of-the-book indexing, data entry and editing take up at least half of the time in creating the index. 


To build the web page where my index would be featured, I used Lycos Tripod free web hosting and site building resources.  Lycos Tripod is an easy to use site builder that does not require knowledge of HTML.  The site builder has a function where HTML code can be added.  I was able to copy the output file from HTML Indexer directly into my Lycos site and this produced the A to Z parts of this online index.


After each A to Z index was uploaded, I performed a check of each link ensuring that all opened and were linked to the correct name.




Technical Issues: 


I’m not the most computer savvy person.  I can search anything but I’m still learning how to create on the Web.  I have not yet learned HTML.  In ILS 501 Intro to Technology, I learned how to build a website.  It’s a very plain, non high-tech website but it works.   


Learning how to successfully use the HTML software package was a challenge.  I spent a great deal of time figuring out the ins and outs of the software.  I had a disaster when I lost a file that I hadn’t saved.  I had to redo a large portion of the work on the Nonfiction Publishers Index. 


At the beginning of this project, I created a new domain name (selfregit.com) which I assumed would open with its own website.  Lycos added this page as a sub page to my indexing website.  As my project developed and my topic changed, I was not able to devote time to figuring this out and found it more important to be able to publish my page to the Web than rename the website.  


Style Issues:


My index is plain.  The page appears in black and white.  Due to my lack of HTML knowledge, I was not able to change any of the style options HTML Indexer automatically created.  At first, I selected a different design layout and all my text was fluorescent green which looked awful and was difficult to read.  After playing around with the design options, I finally found a plain layout that appeared in black and white.  This was adjusted and the index now appears in blue which improves on the organization and readability of the index and also differentiates main headings from sub categories on the Home Page.


The main subjects on the Home Page would look nicer in a bold font or other graphic font that made them more prominent.  I tried but was not able to bold the entries.  For now, I need to use what HTML Indexer created.  I was able to add an improvement by going back into my file and changing the main headings to all caps.  This helps distinguish main subject category headings from linked entries.




An alphabetical structure for the Nonfiction Publishers Index made sense and this method of organization provides a logical and organized source of publisher information.  I think that this index could be improved upon by being further categorized by “types of books published.”  For example, an additional page that listed subjects such as, law, music, health, children’s books or university presses would be helpful for those looking to target specific markets.  In the alphabetical listing, many university presses are found under “U” but others are scattered throughout the index like “Stanford University Press” which is listed under “S.”  Market-specific categories would bring these together.    


The Index of job resources, nonfiction publishers and book packagers could be added to and increased.  This list is a good starting point but by no means encompasses the vast amount of publishers that need and use indexing services. 


I would like to improve the style of this index.  This simple style is adequate.  It does not interfere with a user’s ability to find necessary details.  In the future, I would like to improve on the fonts, and be able to add more color to improve the “eye-pleasing” aspect of this index. 


I would also like to change the website to more accurately reflect the content within this index at some point in the future. 


CONCLUSION and PRACTICAL ADVICE_________________________________


I have successfully found work using all of the resources within this index, and have been able to build a small indexing business of my own.  When I started, fresh from the indexing course offered at NYU SCPS, I joined the American Society for Indexing and The Editorial Freelancers Association.  I signed up for the ASI Index Locator, hunted job boards and sent out blind cover letters and résumés to publishers found online and in publisher listing sources.  I sent hundreds of queries and as you can imagine, most went unanswered.  But some hit their target and I was able to get work, real jobs that paid a market rate for indexing services.      


My first job came from Chicago Review Press (See Nonfiction Publishers Index).  The job resulted from a blind email I sent at just the right time.  The publisher pressed for time and willing to give me a chance.  My second project also resulted from a query I sent in response to a general call for indexers by Allworth Press (See Publishers Listing Freelance and Indexing Opportunities).  Allworth required a work sample.  I was able to get that job as I had a sample from Chicago Review Press.  Later, I obtained more work by sending blind queries to publishers found in this index, including, Boyds Mills Press and Highsmith.  Once I had a few projects under my belt, I was also able to get work by responding to job ads posted on the Editorial Freelancers Association job list and the American Society for Indexing job list.  New York University found my listing on the ASI Index Locator.  I now index the course manual for the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.  I have also received responses to bid on projects by individual authors and publishers who have posted ads on Craigslist or Monster.  If I can do it, I feel that anyone can do it.  I hope this index serves as a useful guide for anyone who wants to find and pursue career opportunties in indexing.   


I would be happy to answer any questions now or in the future should anyone decide to pursue freelance indexing as a career option.  I’ve had my own freelance business for two years.  I find indexing to be a creative outlet and a satisfying way of earning extra money.  Also please feel free to check out my indexing website at http://www.schottindexing.com



ABOUT This Project__________________________________________________
April 2008. This website was created by Sarah Schott as part a final project for ILS 531: Indexing and Abstracting. The course is taught by Dr. Yan Liu at Southern Connecticut State University: Information and Library Science Department.

ABOUT Sarah Schott _________________________________________________
Sarah works as an Ad Review Specialist at a large magazine publishing company.  She is also a freelance back-of-the-book and magazine indexer, and a library science student.  Sarah is currently pursuing a Master's degree in information and library science at Southern Connecticut State University. Sarah lives and works in New York City.