Value of Indexes

The reasons to have an index:

An index creates a map of the information authors work so hard to convey to their readers.  This map allows the readers to return to a particular place in the book or to go directly to another point to find the information they need.

Authors spend months or years of their lives becoming experts in their subject field and creating a means to share that information with readers interested in their knowledge.  An index allows readers to access that knowledge effortlessly and thoroughly.

Indexes increase the marketability and sales of a book by allowing bookstores, libraries, and readers to understand the material included in the book in a concise and accurate manner.

The reasons to hire an indexer:

A computer cannot create an index the way a human being can.  For example, if the topic in the book is gender differences, the author may use terminology such as:

  • the differences between men and women (or males and females)
  • women approach the situation this way, whereas men approach it that way
  • boys and girls develop in unique ways

and so on.

The topic in all these is gender differences, however, that term itself is never used.  A computer will not know to draw these different references together, whereas a professional indexer will.

An author should hire an indexer to create the index .  Authors are masters of their subject areas.  Readers, however, are not.  The indexer can take a step back from the text and provide a reader’s perspective on the information.  The author knows the material so well that that objectivity is not possible.  Not to mention the fact that by the time the author gets to the stage of indexing, exhaustion has set in.  Let the indexer carry that load.

Professional indexers are skilled at their craft.  The benefits of Christine Hoskin’s expertise will add value to the final book.