Archive for July, 2017

Common Subheading Problems

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

In this blog posting, I will discuss common subheading problems, based on an American Society for Indexing webinar given by Fred Leise on September 17, 2014.  The common subheading problems are the following:

  1. repeating text
  2. confusing/awkward
  3. indexing what the reader doesn’t know
  4. uncontrolled locators

An example of repeating the text in the subheading is the following:

Scheutz difference engine

  • government investigation into whether or not to fund a copy of
    • and recommendation to do so by Airy, 205-207

An example of a confusing/awkward subheading phrase is first, with the second and third examples corrected:


  • organ recipients developed


  • organ recipients’ development of


  • development of, in organ recipients

The following example indexes what the reader doesn’t know.  The reader doesn’t know that there are ten usability heuristics in the book.

heuristic evaluations

  • automated aids to, 192-193
  • criticisms of, 190-192
  • methodologies for, 186-189
  • ten usability heuristics, 167-169
  • user control and, 172
  • visibility of system status in, 167

Uncontrolled locators are a string of page references after a main heading that are not subdivided.  The reader doesn’t know whether the locator is a definition, a passing mention or a primary discussion.  Maybe it is a discussion so complicated that the indexer quit trying to capture it in a reasonably worded subheading.  Is it the first place to look or the last place to look?  Inclusion of chapter or section page ranges after the main heading is okay.  The first example shows what to avoid, while the second example shows a correct entry.

Church, xiv, 156-181, 183, 185, 192-193, 202-203

  • actualized, 168
  • and union with Christ, 171-172, 175-176, 193-194, 202
  • idealized, 162-165, 172
  • as organism, 168-181

arms race, 39-72

  • Cold War, relationship to, 39, 51-54
  • consequences of, 70
  • influence of nuclear weapons on, 43

(lots of other subheadings)

This concludes my discussion of subheadings.  For more information about the services provided by the author of this blog, see the Stellar Searches LLC website,