Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The joy of indexing

It's always nice to finish a book and have a publisher say they think it's ready to be published.  But there is a sting in the tail -- the indexing.  For the last few days I have been working through a typescript doing, first of all, an index locorum -- noting references to ancient works.  This is what doing an index locorum (I reckon it's about day 4) looks like:

I have made a list of the references (e.g. Arist. NE 10.5 1175b34–6) and put these in order in a Word document.  Then I highlight all the references in the printout and assign to each of them a code.  Then I enter that code number next to the appropriate reference in the list.  (So: I write 'L287' on the page next to the highlighted bit and then type 'L287' next to the reference in my Word document.)  I've got up to nearly 800 references now; it's enough to discourage you from referring to the texts when you're writing the thing in the first place.

I can see the point of this procedure -- it allows hyperlinks between the index and the main text and, if the page layout is changed, the links will adapt.  But it's a bit of a pain.  And I haven't even started on the 'Subject' index.  (On the whole, I think that's probably the less useful.  At least, I'm more likely to look up what's said about a particular passage than about a particular theme or idea and since most of the themes and ideas worth looking up work their way through the whole book then I'm trying to avoid including them at all.  The contents page is a better guide for the reader.)

But, in the end, there will be something to show for it all...

There's more info on the CUP website here.

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