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The Art of Indexing

ISBN: 978-0-471-01449-2
256 pages
April 1994
The Art of Indexing (0471014494) cover image


A step-by-step guide to creating comprehensive and usable technical indexes. Numerous surveys indicate that the most common complaint about technical documents concern a poorly designed index--or the lack of an index altogether! An organized, thoughtful index not only ensures that the contents of your book are accessible, but also increases the value of your book. In The Art of Indexing, professional indexer and editorial consultant Larry Bonura addresses the indexing problems specific to technical documentation and presents practical solutions to those problems. The Art of Indexing shows technical writers, editors, and documentation managers how to chart the topics of their books, reports, and documents and present a concise and accurate map that readers, researchers, libraries, bookstores, and reviewers can use to maximize the usefulness of their book. Step-by-step, The Art of Indexing shows you how to become a better indexer by:
* Discussing the function of an index
* Showing how to estimate indexing time
* Presenting methods for selecting entries and subentries
* Reviewing reasons for cross-referencing
* Describing how to treat locators
* Offering an extensive editing checklist for reviewing indexes
* Covering indexing for online documents
* Including numerous usability tests for verifying the strength of an index
* Containing information on indexing standards
* Providing sample indexes and a sample indexing style guide
* And much more!
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Table of Contents

Becoming an Indexer.

Technical Indexes.

Determining Audiences.

Achieving Completeness.

Criteria for a Good Index.

Answering Questions.


Defining Index Elements.

Selecting Topics.

Describing Topics.

Arranging Topics.

Handling Special Cases.

Alphabetizing the Index.


Creating Cross-References.

Working with Locators.

Preparing Index Cards.

Automating the Process.

Creating Master Indexes.


Formatting the Index.

Managing the Index.

Editing the Index.

Testing the Index.

Indexing Tips.


Online Indexing.

Indexing Standards.



See Also.


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Author Information

About the author LARRY S. BONURA has a combined experience of twenty-five years in the publishing, operating systems, and editorial management industries. Since becoming a professional indexer in 1977, he has worked on trade books, technical manuals, daily newspapers, magazines, and newsletters. A past president of the District of Columbia chapter of the American Society of Indexers, he is the author of many professional articles, papers, and books including the Desktop Publisher's Dictionary, Indexing Technical Documents, and Ventura Publisher User's Guide. Mr. Bonura is also the founder and Director of Word Workers, an organization which provides indexing and technical marketing services to the computer industry, and the Manager of Convex Press, the editorial services group for Convex Computer Corporation. He received his MA in American history from Emporia State University.
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