What is an Index?
How is Indexing Done?
- An index serves to guide, point out, or otherwise facilitate reference. It is usually an alphabetized list of names, places, and subjects, giving the page or pages on which each item is mentioned.
- The job of the indexer is to create links between the author and the reader, the potential reader (the person who skims the index in the bookstore to decide whether to buy the book), and the past reader (who may want to find a specific passage).
- Generally, we ask for the author's help in composing the index; however, if it's not possible, then a professional indexer usually receives a set of final page proofs for the book. This set of page proofs are often in final form, and often at the same time, final proofreading is being done by someone else. The indexer reads the page proofs, making a list of headings and subheadings (terms to appear in the index) and the location of each pertinent reference. After completing the rough index the indexer edits it for structure, clarity and consistency, formats it to specifications, proofreads it and submits it to the client.
Most indexing jobs are quoted by the number of indexable pages. Rates generally are in the range of $1.50-$4.00 per page, depending on factors such as the ones listed below:
- Density of text: The denser the text, the higher the rate. A larger page with smaller font and multiple columns takes more time and effort to index than one with a larger font and a single column of text. I will usually ask you to e-mail me a few representative pages from the text so I can give you an accurate quote.
- Depth of index needed: The more index entries required per page of text, the higher the rate. For example, if your index is to have only 1-2 entries pulled from each page of text, the cost will be less than an index of 4-5 entries per page.
- Turnaround time: Rush jobs may be charged higher fees.
Borrego Publishing generally follows the guidelines as specified in The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers.
|"Less time is available for the preparation of an index
than for almost any other step in the bookmaking process. For obvious reasons, most indexes
cannot be completed until page proofs are available. Typesetters are anxious for those few
final pages of copy; printers want to get the job on the press; binders are waiting; salesmen
are clamoring for finished books. Surely you can get that index done over the weekend?"
óChicago Manual of Style, 14th edition