Guidelines for indexing page proofs

Can anyone direct me to a good website that gives guidelines for indexing page proofs?

I’m not concerned about the how-to or mechanics of generating or formating the index file. I’ve looked at MS Word’s indexing functionality. I don’t care for it, but I understand it and can use it.

I’m speaking more towards the editorial aspect of producing the index manuscript. I would like some editorial guidelines on:[ul]
[li]what terms should be indexed[/li][li]what terms should be main entries vs. sub-entries[/li][li]how often terms should be noted, etc.[/li][/ul]
Obviously I’m capable of reading through the manuscript and marking the terms I think appropriate and then sorting through those terms and organizing what has been marked. But I think that if I read through a list of indexing standards/guidelines before marking the text, my index will be better organized by the time I get to the “create Index file” stage. That way I will have less work in terms of cleaning up and reorganizing the index file.

The document to be indexed is a technical manual that will be used in-house at my company.

Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions!!

P.S. Google searches such as Creating an Index and Indexing a Manuscript don’t offer me the types of links I’m looking for.

I know of two recommended books that have been written on the art of indexing – by G. Norman Knight and Nancy Mulvany. Unfortunately, I believe they are both out of print.

You might see if Index-L has a FAQ. Alternately, you might find it more efficient to simply hire an indexer; I’m sure lots of people over on Index-L would be willing to help you with that. Barring that, e-mail me and I could probably hook you up with some indexers.


Thanks for the suggestions. However, hiring an indexer is out the question for the time being for financial reasons.

My company is developing software to be used internally. I am a trainer and will be teaching employees how to use the software. I’ve also written the existing manual. The problem is, the software system is being developed in stages, and the manual changes with each new release. The company does not want to pay for professional indexing until the software is completed and the manual is finalized. However, the beta-testers who are working with the early releases of the software want finding aids for the manual. So I’m in a situation where I need to create an index quickly to get it to the beta-testers along with the manual.

I’m just going to have to look at this as a learning experience. Maybe I’ll learn enough by the last release of the software (and the last release of the manual) to be able to produce the final index–saving the company some money and getting some gold stars bu my name. :smiley:

OK, try these (I Googled “indexing guidlines”):

Author Indexing Guidelines – Impressions Inc.

Indexing Guidelines – NIAS Press

Whoops, I had an itchy trigger finger. And of course, I Googled “indexing guidElines”.

There may also be more useful links further down in the search, but you get the idea. Indexing is a pretty complex task – there’s a reason why good indexers get the rates they do. Good luck!


Thanks for the sites. That will have to do for me. Time to dig in!