Indexing Books: Principles & Practice

By Max McMaster

23 – 24 September 2011 (Fri – Sat)
9.30am – 5.30pm

MDIS Queenstown Campus
501 Stirling Road

Course Fee: $480.00

This is a past course. View upcoming courses.

This course was also conducted in March 2009, April 2007 and July 2006.


This workshop will provide all those with an interest in book indexing with an understanding of the processes involved in compiling an index. You will gain not only an insight into the art/science of indexing, but also develop the practical skills required, by actually compiling an index to an existing publication.


The workshop will discuss the scope and initial steps in indexing: selection of terms – headings and subheadings; cross-references, alphabetical arrangement; style of indexes; editing the index; evaluating indexes; and working with an indexer from the editor’s perspective. The second day will involve practical indexing of a small non-fiction publication using dedicated indexing software.

Day 1

  • Differences between an index and table of contents
  • Purpose of the index
  • How does the indexer get involved in the publishing process?
  • Working with editors and authors
  • Indexing software
  • Scope of indexes and initial steps in indexing
  • Selection of terms – headings: subjects and names
  • Arrangement of terms – subheadings and style
  • Cross-references
  • Style of indexes
  • Editing the index – indexers and editors perspective
  • Assessing and evaluating indexes

Day 2

  • Indexing commands (using a free dedicated indexing software for practice)
  • Indexing of nominated text
    • Who is the audience?
    • Concepts to be indexed
    • Level of detail
  • Style and editing issues
  • Generation of Microsoft Word output file
  • Emailing file to home/work


Practical exercises throughout this course will help you understand the indexing process and you will be able to
compile an index to publications by the end of the course.

Beginning indexers, editors, publishers, writers, librarians, editorial staff of non-commercial publications, and anyone with an interest in indexing will benefit from this course.

About the trainer: Max McMaster

Max McMaster

Max McMaster has been a freelance indexer for the past 20 years, working on the indexing of books, databases and journals. He specialised in indexing after spending 19 years in library and information fields, mainly in scientific disciplines. He has more than 1950 indexes to his name. Max runs indexing training courses for the Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers (ANZSI), as well as other organisations and universities throughout Australia. Max is also an instructor for the online indexing course run through the University of California, Berkeley. He is a three-time winner of the ANZSI Medal for book indexing and is currently an ANZSI Council member. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Registration Details

Registration is on a first-come-first-served basis and workshop fees must be paid before the workshop. If the minimum number of participants is not met for the class, the organisers will inform all participants about possible postponement and cancellation of workshop, two weeks before the workshop date.

All ALAP workshops serve tea-breaks and provide course handouts.

Cancellation & Substitution

The workshop can be cancelled or postponed two weeks before the workshop date if the minimum number of participants is not met. Participants will be fully refunded for workshops cancelled by us.

Participants who are unable to attend a workshop they have registered for are to inform us of the reason two weeks before the workshop date. They will be fully refunded in the event of extenuating and mitigating circumstances ( E.g. illness, bereavement, accidents) . Those who inform us later than two weeks before the workshop date will receive a 50 % refund. Participants can also opt to attend another course at the same value within the same year.

Upon registration, you are deemed to have read and understood the cancellation, withdrawal and substitution policy and accept the terms contained therein.