Archive for April, 2015

Approaches to Indexing the Metatopic

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

As discussed in the last blog posting, the metatopic will drive the structural development of the index.  The problem with the metatopic is the temptation to over-index the entire document under a single overarching topic or to ignore the direct indexing of the metatopic altogether.  There are two approaches to indexing the metatopic: the traditional approach and the table of contents approach.

In the traditional approach, subheadings that cannot stand-alone in the index are included under the metatopic heading, with cross-references to the most important main headings in the book.  This saves a significant amount of space in the index and adds elegance to the index structure.

The second approach, the table of contents approach, mirrors the structure of the book.  In terms of structure, the index must reflect the text and yet parse the information into a useful, alphabetical format.  A text may be relatively straightforward in organization, for example, tackling one aspect of the metatopic in each chapter with a subheading under the metatopic heading.

For more information on the metatopic and index structure, see the article by Margie Towery, “Metatopic and Structure: Creating Better Indexes, Part 7.” Heartland Chapter of the American Society for Indexing Newsletter, Fall 2014,

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