Friday, December 21, 2007

What Indexing Was Like

Just one week on the Copyediting-L list, and already it's paying off! Member Dick Margulis posted about a memoir article on the art and craft of indexing. Enid Stubin's "My Time in the Indexing Trade" is a fascinating and funny look back to a time when indexing was a more tactile occupation than it is today. Most striking was the mention that they actually did their indexes on--of all things--index cards.

Nowadays it's all computerized, and indexers often mark what they want to index by placing codes directly in the Word or layout files. Then they press a button and "poof"--it's compiled. Of course, they still have to go back and edit it to perfection. But at least they're not shuffling around with a bunch of cards.

I'm planning to post a career profile from an indexer next year, if I can talk her into it. Meanwhile, I'm hitting the road for Evansville today and won't be posting again after Christmas. Have a wonderful one!

1 comment:

Steve Tiano said...

My first real job, I was hired as a copy editor/proofreader for a small tax law publisher in 1978. I also did a tiny bit of rewrite in my nearly two years at that job. And I did one Index. Yup, on index cards. Shows what a dinosaur I am.