Free e-periodicals on information management

By Glenda: First published in Online Currents – Vol.18 Issue 5, October 2003

Living in the Blue Mountains, and working from home, I rely heavily on the Web for specific information and as a way of keeping up-to-date with the fields that interest me – indexing, library and information science, and information technology in general. I am impressed by the number of sites that offer free quality publications, with contributions ranging from short news snippets to fully-fledged journal articles. Online sources usually have less delay between writing and publication than print sources, so are particularly useful for keeping up with the latest developments. read more

Freelance Indexing

Presented at the August Indexer conference, Hobart, 1999

This paper is a practical approach to starting and developing an indexing career.

There is no direct career path into indexing, and most of us discover it through a chance stroke of luck. Indexing is very often done freelance, and getting started is hard as clients are often reluctant to employ someone with no track record of successful work.

Once the work starts coming, you have to develop skills in satisfying clients, which depends largely on listening to their requirements, and making sure you fulfil them. Promoting your indexing service then ensures that you have an adequate supply of work, and, eventually, that you are able to chose the work you prefer at the rates you deserve. read more

Genealogy Resources on the Web

By Glenda: First published in Online Currents – Vol.19 Issue 5 & 7, June & September 2004

1. General Resources

The more technological our society becomes, the more people seem to be interested in linking with the past.  One of the most personal ways to do this is by researching one’s own family.  There are vast family history resources available in print, microfiche and CD-ROM formats, with a smaller but rapidly growing number on the Internet.  These provide from-home access to international tools for genealogical researchers. read more

HTML/Prep: transforming indexes for the web

First published in Online Currents – Vol.17 Issue 7, September 2002

Indexes on the Web include Web site indexes and document indexes that link directly to online material, and indexes which provide locators but are not themselves linked to the material they refer to. HTML/Prep is particularly useful for creating online indexes of documents that have already been indexed for print, or are to be indexed simultaneously for print and online presentation, although it can also be used for indexes with links to other parts of the Web. HTML/Prep v.3.0 from Leverage Technologies (1) is reviewed below, and other systems for creation of Web indexes are discussed at the end of the article. read more

Ig Nobel 5-minute MIT informal lecture

On 4 October 2007 I received the Ig Nobel Prize for Literature at Harvard University. On 6 October I spoke about my research for 5 minutes in the MIT Informal Lectures, and answered 3 questions. The talk and questions follow.

Inconspicuous indexers, and indexers as vegetables

Thank you for this honour.

I work as an indexer – an inconspicuous but thriving profession made up of people whose aim is to help readers find the information they need. Not many people know we exist, thinking instead that indexes ‘just happen’ or are created by computers. Because of this the American Society of Indexers chose the kohlrabi as their official vegetable – no-one knows what it is, either.

Indexes in daily life

My grandmother’s cousin, the American author Worth Tuttle Heddon, published her memoirs under the name Winifred Woodley, in a book titled ‘Two and three makes one’, which led my husband to point out that she was obviously better at English than at Maths! She noted (p.20) ‘This morning I made out a card index for the characters in my novel; keeping up with twenty-seven of them in my mind takes time from the writing’. read more

Ig Nobel Prize acceptance speech

On 4 October 2007 I received the Ig Nobel Prize for Literature at Sanders Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridge. Here is my 1-minute acceptance speech.

Thank you. I work as an indexer – the person who creates the A to Z access points at the back of books, in periodicals, websites, online help – just about anywhere. Few people know that indexers exist, and even fewer know that we worry ceaselessly about how to alphabetise our index terms so you can find them.

‘The’ is a case in point. It’s a funny word that sometimes matters, and sometimes doesn’t. You sort ‘The Bible’ and ‘The Beatles’ at ‘B’, but ‘The Hague’ and ‘The camel’s hump is an ugly wump’ at ‘T’. And that’s before you get to concepts such as ‘the blues’, ‘the pill’, and ‘the undead’. read more

Ignobel Prize for Literature, 2007

On 4 October 2007 Glenda was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for Literature for an article she had written in 2001 on the problems encountered when alphabetising index entries that start with ‘The’.

The rules differ depending on the type of entry, and they don’t always reflect the way people think about the terms being indexed.

The Ig Nobels are presented at a ceremony at Sanders Theatre, Harvard University. They are a spoof on the true Nobel Prizes, and are awarded for research that makes people laugh, and then think. What they think is up to them. Ten awards are given each year from a pool of about 7000 nominations. Most of the winners this year travelled to Boston at their own expense, coming from 5 continents. Most are offered the opportunity to refuse quietly, but are delighted to win. One said it is a great compliment to have done research that is important enough to be published in a serious journal, but vivid enough to be awarded an Ig Nobel. read more