Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Facing The Text: Content and Structure in Book Indexing - Do Mi Stauber

Facing The Text: Content And Structure In Book Indexing
Do Mi Stauber
Cedar Row Press
Copyright: 2004
978-0974834504

The amazon.com product description:
Based on Do Mi Stauber's popular and empowering workshop, the book discusses such standard topics as subheadings, cross-references and indexability, in the context of particular texts and indexes. Hundreds of examples illustrate the many practical strategies that Do Mi has drawn from her own practice in social sciences and humanities indexing. The book goes beyond abstract rules to confront the unique needs of each text and index, and provides guidelines to help novice and experienced indexers alike make common-sense, flexible, and reader-centered decisions. You will learn such strategies as: ? addressing the main topic of the book in your index structure ? pinning down the elusive main argument of a scholarly book ? using local main topics to understand the structure of the text ? deciding which topics should be indexed ? understanding subheadings with a new typology created by Do Mi Stauber and Nancy Mulvany ? choosing subheadings for long spans and locator strings ? deciding when to use the author's wording, when to modify it, and when to create a new wording ? connecting topics in the index through double-posting and cross references ? distinguishing among indexing strategies for scholarly books, textbooks and reference books.
It took me a while to get through this one, but the time taken was well worth it.  Facing The Text is a very dense book, full of information. I found that I had to think over each section for a while before continuing.

I definitely recommend Facing The Text to anyone taking the Berkley course like I did - in fact, it's one of the recommended extra reading books and I can see why. The author has laid things out really well, showing different techniques, explaining them clearly and using lots of examples. Then she explains a bit about when and why you might wish to use one technique over another.

Different chapters cover different facets of the indexing process in depth, including selecting terminology, heading and subheading formats, what is indexable and what generally isn't, among other things.

Personally, I found the final two chapters to be the most interesting, with insights into working on an in-progress index, including strategies for what to do when you get stuck, the editing process etc. Very helpful for anyone just starting out, such as those of us who are fresh out of a course. However, I'm sure that on a re-read, which is definitely going to happen, I'll get even more out of Facing the Text, but for now, it made me think more about what I was doing even as I was working on the longer assignments for the course.

Most definitely a book I would recommend to any new indexer.
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