Introduction to Indexing for Editors

By Max McMaster

22 March 2013 (Fri)
9.30am – 5.30pm

Singapore Training & Development Association (STADA)
LTC Building D, #06-01
16 Arumugam Road, Singapore 409961


Course Fee: $250.00

This is a past course. View upcoming courses.

This course is designed as an introduction to indexing for editors and assumes no knowledge of indexing concepts at all. Editors or editing students who would like to develop a basic understanding of indexing will benefit greatly from this one-day course.

  • Essential difference between a table of contents and an index.
  • Purpose of the index
  • Publishing process – how does the indexer get involved?
  • What should the editor tell the indexer, and what does the editor need to supply?
  • In what format will the indexer return the completed index?

Indexing software

Dedicated indexing software
Embedded indexing software

Headings (Keywords/Main headings)

Direct entry
Selected headings


Relationship of subheading to main heading
Prepositions and conjunctions
Logic of subheadings
Run-on and Set-out style

Filing order

Basic order
Signs and symbols
Order of words

Factors influencing the compilation of an index

Appropriateness of the index
Categories of subjects
Length of index
Number of indexes


Personal names - Western names, Asian names
Corporate names
Place names
Other proper names


see references
see also references

Style issues

Initial articles
Separating locators from headings
Page spans
Principal references
Tables, figures and glossary
Header letters

Editing the index

  • From the indexer's pespecitive
  • From the editor's perspective (1) - Practicalities

Is the index alphabetical
Are there long strings of undifferentiated locators?
Unnecessary entries
Unusual Latin expressions
Head note to explain symbols

From the editor’s perspective (2) – cutting the index down to size

Determining how much needs to be cut
Pruning strategies
Changing number of columns
Removing subheadings
Changing indexing style
Deleting entries
Reducing turnover lines
Other strategies

Assessing an index – practical example

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.