DPI workgroup creates digital indexing resources

Post submitted by Terry Casey, Pilar Wyman, and Jan Wright

In early January, someone posted a question on the Digital Publications Indexing SIG’s discussion group asking what role our SIG could play to better educate publishers on the merits and feasibility of indexes for digital books. It was quickly suggested that a workgroup form to create educational documents for both indexers and publishers.

What followed was a wave of volunteers that included Terry Casey, Jan Wright, Pilar Wyman, Cindy Coan, Lucie Haskins, Paula Clarke Baine, Jan Worrall and Glenn Picher.

The workgroup decided to break into two groups. One group would focus on documents that sell the idea of embedded indexes to publishers, and the other group would focus on technical workflow issues of actually doing embedded indexing.

The “selling” embedded indexing group created two documents to use when talking with publishers, clients or anyone about why embedded indexes should be included in digital publications.

The first document, called “Benefits of an eIndex”, gives a general explanation of the benefits of an embedded index and then lists the advantages of an embedded index over search. The list has highlighted phrases in boldface to make it easier for indexers to find and learn phrases that they can use when talking with clients and publishers. Publishers and clients frequently say that search is good enough and they don’t need an embedded index. This list gives the indexer clear and concise reasons to counteract that argument.

The second document created by the “selling” group is called “Questions for Indexers to Ask Clients.” This document gives a list of questions to ask clients when they are interested in hiring an indexer to create an embedded index. It covers the information indexers will need to begin the embedded indexing process. The second part of the document covers reasons that publishers commonly give for not using embedded indexes and includes counter-arguments that indexers can use to persuade publishers.

One issue the basic group wrestled with was deciding to use the term “eIndexes” for embedded and linked indexes. ANZSI has created a similar document advocating embedded indexes and it is called “Life is easier with an eIndex.” Some group members like the term eIndex and others did not, but it was decided to use it in the documents because it was easier than using the phrase “embedded and linked indexes” throughout. Additionally, the group decided to keep both documents to one page so it would be easier to distribute and more concise.

The “technical” work group created flowcharts organized with file input, software tools/process and outputs, updating the work of the DTTF (Digital Trends Task Force) Matrix Group International. The Matrix group had developed table-form matrices of potential work flows for electronic or eIndexes. (See also previous publications and presentations, as listed on the DPI SIG web page.) Huge thanks to Jan Wright for converting those tables into flowcharts! We’ve been meaning to do this for years. Thanks too to Lucie Haskins for her invaluable input. The information is still changing, naturally, and the flowcharts will continue to improve.

All the materials are now available on the DPI SIG web site, including under “Conference presentation handouts” on the Ebook Indexing Resources page.

At the Cleveland ASI meeting, Terry Casey and Pilar Wyman presented the handouts and shared the flowcharts. Denise Alberts reported on Twitter, “This was a GREAT presentation at @ASIndexing conference last month. They rocked! #indexersrock.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *