Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Chore for the Day

The chore for the day is to be creating an index for my new book. And believe me, it is a chore. So much so that publishers usually farm out the work to specialists.

Of course, if you have a work of fiction no index will be needed, but my book is an account of all the invasions, and proposed invasions, of the British Isles and for this a useful and informative index is an essential.

A simple index can be created using one of the built-in programmes of your word processor but, since the manuscript will be re-formatted when being typeset, this is not of much value. In any case, it is merely a word search, much the same as the search and replace function.

So for me to create a meaningful index, which will contain information on each entry rather than just a simple page reference, I have to access the typeset file.

Using Adobe PageMaker to compile a simple index (selected words with their relevant page numbers), I can then elaborate on this to produce a more encyclopaedic list.

It’s a time consuming and not a particularly entertaining business but a good index is a sure sign of a competently researched book and well worth the effort.

But it’s easy to see why so many farm the job out to professional indexers – it really is a chore.


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