Why do I need an index?
An index enables you to retrieve information from the text quickly and efficiently.
A contents list, in comparison, is rarely detailed enough. One entry in the index
will indicate the location of significant text on a particular topic throughout the
publication. The more sophisticated the text, the more an index is useful. Retrieving
information quickly can save time and thus money, while an inadequate index may attract
severe criticism in book reviews.
Why not an automatically generated index?
Some software claims to index automatically, but this will never produce a true index.
We assess the meaning of the text, and add synonyms and related concepts, not just
hunt for key-words or list section headings.
We are sometimes asked to rescue automatic indexes, but we usually have to start
At what stage of proof production can the index be compiled?
Ideally the pagination should be finalised. Changes to the text at a later stage
that alter the page numbers will affect the index. This may, in turn, affect costs
and deadlines. We can, however, easily and quickly globally repaginate. That is,
if whole pages are added or removed and the page numbers need to all be moved on
or back by a fixed number. If required, we can index books at an earlier proof stage
using paragraph numbers, for the printer to translate into page numbers. Embedded
indexes are also possible.
What information do you need?
Apart from general information about the publication to be indexed, we need to know
the size of the index required, i.e. number and length of lines, and the style required.
A sample of a previous index helps, particularly if you have your own house style.
What about indexing on-line and electronic publications?
We can index any text for electronic publishing using embedding techniques or paragraph
markers. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
What about price?
We will estimate the price of the work from the information you initially give us.
When we see the publication, if it is either relatively simple or particularly complex,
we may adjust the price in agreement with you. Once we have started work the price
may also be affected if there is any change in the pagination or text.
How can we send the proofs to you?
Printed proofs can be sent by post. PDF proofs can be received electronically by
email or FTP.
What about deadlines?
We understand that publications usually have tight schedules and we aim to be meticulous
in keeping to agreed deadlines.
What if there are problems?
We value good relations with our clients, and this ensures that we can solve any
potential problems together. We will be in contact if there is any uncertainty over
style or length of index, for example. Similarly, you should contact us immediately
there is any change in the text, or any need to delay the work. We always do our
best to accommodate changes, but inevitably cost and completion dates may be affected.
What about delivery of indexes?
Indexes are usually sent in Rich Text Format (Word.RTF) files by email.
What about large publications like encyclopedias / major reference works?
We can index very large publications, as a team of indexers can work together, under
a project manager. For planning purposes it is useful to know in advance when these
Do you copy-edit and proofread?
We are able to offer these services also, and suggest that to have a publication
copy-edited, proofread and indexed by us may well be both time-saving and cost-effective.