Archive for May, 2017

More Characteristics of Successful Subheadings

Monday, May 8th, 2017

In this blog posting, I will discuss more characteristics of successful subheadings, based on an American Society for Indexing webinar given by Fred Leise on September 17, 2014.

Top 10 Characteristics

  1.  collocation
  2.  complete
  3.  differentiable
  4.  good information scent
  5.  audience relevant
  6.  concise
  7.  points to information
  8.  parallel construction
  9.  important word first
  10.  clear relationship to heading

In the last blog posting, I discussed in detail and gave examples of the first three characteristics: collocation, complete, and differentiable.  In this blog posting, I will discuss in detail the next three characteristics.

Good Information Scent

Labels must provide users with a good information scent, a strong connotation so users can understand what type of material it points to.  The second example has a better use of good information scent than the first example:


  • about, 24
  • cooking with, 26


  • ancient Romans use of, 24
  • cooking with, 26

Audience Relevant

Use glosses, short descriptions in parentheses, to help explain concepts to your audience.  The second example is audience relevant:


  • dzudzuapani, 25,38-40,44,46

Wakuenai peoples (in Venezuela)

  • dzudzuapani (“wheel” dance-songs), 25,38-40,44,46


Concepts should be concise, but this does not necessarily imply short.  The second example shows a subheading that is concise:

Difference Engine (No. 2)

  • building of as vindication and commemoration of Babbage’s work, 225,226

Difference Engine (No. 2)

  • importance, 225,226

In the next blog posting, I will focus on the last characteristics of successful subheadings.  For more information about the services provided by the author of this blog, see the Stellar Searches LLC website,