Archive for May, 2013

Indexing in the Age of e-Books

Monday, May 6th, 2013

A Plenary Session, held on Thursday, April 18th at the Hotel Contessa during the annual conference for the American Society for Indexing focused on “Indexing in the Age of e-Books.”  Joshua Tallent, chief e-Book Architect for Firebrand Technologies, gave the presentation.

“Indexes are at a crossroads,” he said. “The worst thing you can do is keep on doing the same thing.  The time is ripe for change, and you are uniquely suited for the challenges ahead.”

As an e-Book Architect, Tallent has developed indexes for e-Books.

He explained how embedded indexes work, describing their HTML structure.  This moves in only one direction, however.  Eventually, we will get to the point where linking does not just move in one direction.

He described EPUB 3 Indexing Specifications, which are gaining prominence.  These are the indexing standards which give the specifications that govern the indexes for e-Books.

He said that that there is no good e-Book development software currently available.  “InDesign ePub export is broken. Word HTML export is broken,” he said.

The index needs to be linked deeper than the page level, to the paragraph.  With InDesign, it is possible to create ID’s for every page by numbering every paragraph in the book.  It is hard to link the index to the exact spot and requires lots of manual labor.  This cannot be completely automated, he said.

He concluded by saying that print books are not dead.  Publishers are selling more print books than e-Books.  There is a lack of support for the functionality of indexes in e-Books.

Other workshops held during the American Society for Indexing Conference will be highlighted in future blog postings.  For more information about the services provided by the author of this blog, see the Stellar Searches LLC website,