Posts Tagged ‘Stellar Searches LLC’

Textbook Indexing

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Leoni McVey led a session, “To Textbooks, with Love,” on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at the American Society for Indexing/Indexing Society of Canada Annual Conference in Chicago.  She discussed the process of elementary to high school and college textbook indexing, and some ways in which textbooks differ from other types of book indexing.  These books are well-organized, she said, with key terms in bold face.

She gave a handout listing “callouts”:  illustration (i), box (b), map (m), document (d), visual (v), chart/graph (c), table (t), and figure (f).  Callouts may be abbreviated or spelled out partially, and may or may not be italics.

Indexable and nonindexable book sections include the following: book preface and introduction: indexable.  Chapter introduction: indexable.  Timelines and chronologies: indexable.  Activities: nonindexable.  Case studies: depends, not if fictional.  Key term lists: indexable.  Review questions: indexable.  Bibliographies: nonindexable.  Glossaries: can be.  Glindex (combined glossary and index): questionable.

She said she compiles two indexes for a teacher edition and a student edition.   She indexes them separately, and then they are merged together, with ‘T’ noting Teacher Edition and ‘SN’ noting Student Notebook.

For more information about the services provided by the author of this blog, see the Stellar Searches LLC website, http://www.stellarsearches.com

 

Multiple Entry Points

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Multiple Entry Points

Variants and Cross-References in Indexes and Thesauri

This session was held on Friday, June 17, 2016 at the American Society for Indexing/Indexing Society of Canada Annual Conference in Chicago by Heather Hedden, Senior Vocabulary Editor, and John Magee, Director, Indexing and Vocabulary Services, Gale/Cengage Learning.  Each has worked there since the 1990s (Ms. Hedden with a break of 10 years.)  Each has experience with back-of-the-book indexing, periodical/database indexing, and thesaurus development for database indexing.

Multiple Entry Points Defined: Synonyms or roughly equivalent concepts (not just words), for the context.

Purpose: To capture different wordings of how different people might describe or look up the same concept or idea.

  • Differences between that of the author and the user/reader
  • Differences among different users/readers

A concept may have any number of (multiple) entry points, or it may have only a single entry name.  Multiple entry points can point to the preferred entry/term, or they can point directly to the content.

 

Back-of-the-book indexing requires the indexer to additionally come up with (invent) all of the index terms and their variants and arrange them into an index. Double posts and See references are the two types of multiple entry points for back-of-the-book indexing.

Double Posts

Multiple entries that refer to the same concept/name/topic/idea with the same locators.  These are desirable for many entries, but not all.  Although, called “double” posts, can be for three or more.  Use double posts instead of See reference, for entries with no subentries.

Double post examples:

Film reviews, 162-166,173

Movie reviews,162-166,173

Ethics of communication, 113-114

Communication ethics, 113-114

See references

Entries that point to another entry, to use instead.  Locators are at the referred entry only.  Used instead of double posts when entries have subentries, and it is undesirable to repeat all subentries.  So it saves space.

See reference examples:

arms purchases. See weapons purchases

labor unions. See unions, labor

 

A thesaurus is a kind of controlled vocabulary that has multiple entry points and structure.  Multiple entry points are “equivalent” terms, with a nonpreferred term pointing to a preferred term.

Standard thesaurus notation: USE / UF (Used for or Used from)

Preferred term USE Nonpreferred term

Nonpreferred term UF Preferred term

Public procurement USE Government purchasing

Government purchasing UF Public procurement

Eskimos USE Inuit

Inuit UF Eskimos

 

In future blog postings I will discuss other sessions from the American Society for Indexing Annual Conference in Chicago.  For more information about the services provided by the author of this blog, see the Stellar Searches LLC website, http://www.stellarsearches.com

Introduction to Taxonomies and Thesauri

Saturday, August 6th, 2016

Heather Hedden, Senior Vocabulary Editor, Indexing and Vocabulary Services for Gale/Cengage Learning led a session on “An Introduction to Taxonomies and Thesauri” on Friday, June 17, 2016 at the American Society for Indexing/Indexing Society of Canada Annual Conference in Chicago.  Taxonomies and thesauri are types of controlled vocabularies that include an authoritative, restricted list of terms (words or phrases) mainly used for indexing/tagging content to support retrieval.  They usually make use of equivalent non-preferred terms (synonyms, etc.) to point to the correct, preferred terms, and may or may not have structured relationships between terms.

Taxonomy

A taxonomy is a controlled vocabulary with broader/narrower (parent/child) term relationships that include all terms to create a hierarchical structure.

  • With focus for categorizing and organizing concepts
  • May or may not have equivalent non-preferred terms (synonyms, etc.) to point to the correct, preferred terms
  • May comprise several hierarchies or facets (A facet can be considered a hierarchy.)

A taxonomy is any kind of controlled vocabulary in an enterprise, corporate setting, content management system, or for website navigation (e.g. e-commerce site).

Thesaurus

A thesaurus is a controlled vocabulary that has standard structured relationships between terms.

  • Hierarchical: broader term/narrower term (BT/NT)
  • Associative: related terms (RT)
  • Equivalence: preferred term (“use for” or “used for”)/non-preferred term (use) (USE/UF)

Also supports notes, such as scope notes (SN), for terms, as needed.

A thesaurus is most often the kind of controlled vocabulary used in indexing periodical literature.  It is also used for literature retrieval databases.  It is used by librarians, indexers, or other information professionals.  It includes non-preferred terms.

Benefits

The benefits of taxonomies/controlled vocabularies are that they bring together different wordings (synonyms) for the same concept.  They help people search for information by different names.  By classification, they help organize information into a logical structure.  They help people browse or navigate for information.

In future blog postings I will discuss other sessions from the American Society for Indexing Annual Conference in Chicago.  For more information about the services provided by the author of this blog, see the Stellar Searches LLC website, http://www.stellarsearches.com

The Future of Publishing

Friday, July 15th, 2016

Dominique Raccah, founder and CEO of Sourcebooks, gave the keynote speech on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at the American Society for Indexing/Indexing Society of Canada annual conference in Chicago.  Ms. Raccah spoke about the current transformation of media and where publishing is situated within that changing world.  She gave an optimistic prediction for the future of print publishing.  She described the evolution of innovation at Sourcebooks, which was founded in 1987, and which publishes non-fiction, including self-help books, and fiction, including young adult and children’s books.  Sourcebooks publishes 400+ titles a year, and 80+ national and international bestsellers a year.  It has experienced 200% growth.

Put Me In The Story is a series of personalized books that add real value for customers by adding their names to well-known children’s stories.  The individualized book has the child’s name on the cover and throughout the book.  It mixes content, creativity, and technology, she said.  The publisher uses proprietary technology with a book builder engine.

The Put Me In The Story books are the number one personalized books in America, she said.  This website has gotten three million visitors.  Not only are these books a transformative source of revenue growth for Sourcebooks, but the books add to the author’s revenue stream.

To build on this success, Sourcebooks may next publish custom books, such as Simple Truths, which are motivational books.  These books could be branded with your name and/or business logo.  Sourcebooks is also experimenting with augmented reality (AR) books, which expand and enhance the experience of reading.  Sourcebooks innovates with mixed media publishing, such as the Poetry Speaks books combining audio and text, which create an interactive experience for children.   The Shakesperience is an interactive product which includes audio and video to enhance the understanding of Shakespeare’s plays.

In creating a successful publishing market, she stressed the importance of focusing on the customer.  What are customers trying to do?  Innovation is iterative, she said.  Find a viable model and scale, she added.  Build on your success, she concluded.

In future blog postings I will discuss other sessions from the American Society for Indexing Conference.  For more information about the services provided by the author of this blog, see the Stellar Searches LLC website, http://www.stellarsearches.com

ASI & ISC 2016 Conference in Chicago

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

The joint American Society for Indexing – Indexing Society of Canada annual conference was held June 16 through 18 in Chicago, Illinois at the Conference Chicago at University Center, which I attended.  The keynote speaker on June 17th was Larry Sweazy, indexer and award-winning author of mystery novels, including See Also Murder, who spoke about the writing and indexing life.  The main character in this novel, a murder mystery, is Marjorie Trumaine, an indexer who lives in the 1960s in North Dakota.  He said he chose this time period so that she would use index cards.

The second book in this series is See Also Deception.  He has also written six Texas Ranger novels.  He started writing love poems when he was young, then had short stories published.

In addition to writing novels, he works on 30 to 40 indexes a year.

He said he does not outline his novels.  He said when he starts a novel, he does not know who the killer is.  He writes to find out.  He calls himself a “pants-er,” one who flies by the seat of his pants.  In indexing as well, he jumps right in and starts on the first page, and does not preread or mark up the pages.

He said writing mysteries is like indexing, because you turn chaos into order.  The bad guy gets what he deserves, he said.

He maintains consistency in his characters, and said he knows their education and family tree.  He said he knows what’s in the character’s wallet.

He keeps a strict schedule, working on a certain number of pages of a novel a day and then indexing for the rest of the day, perhaps 75 pages of a book.

In future blog postings, I will discuss other sessions from the ASI & ISC Conference in Chicago.  For more information about the services provided by the author of this blog, see the Stellar Searches LLC website, http://www.stellarsearches.com

 

Common Sense in Indexing

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Common sense is another principle that aids in creating better indexes.  Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (10th ed.) defines common sense as “the unreflective opinions of ordinary people”; and “sound and prudent but often unsophisticated judgement.”  Common sense should be balanced with the other principles, accuracy, consistency, comprehensiveness, conciseness, readability, reflexivity, audience-sensitivity, and elegance that I have outlined in previous posts.  Metatopic and structure also aid in creating a quality index.

Term choices and natural language

Indexers are choice architects, as we make choices in every word that goes into an index.  We decide how something obscure might be made more accessible, so we should use natural everyday (common sense) language in our indexes.  We must be aware of jargon and translate it as much as possible, so our indexes are usable across a variety or audiences.  This might entail using a cross-reference or parenthetical qualifier.

Main headings

In order to create the best possible main headings, it is helpful to have a good general grasp of the main subject of the text (or metatopic), using natural language to maintain the connection between the outside world of the user and the inside world of the text.

Subheadings

The following techniques follow common sense.  First, the relationship between the subheading and the main heading must be absolutely clear.  Second, subheadings should, as far as possible, have the most important word first, and sort on that word.  Third, indexers may also apply logic to the sort order of subheadings.

Double-posting acronym-type entries

Acronym-type entries do not always have to be double posted, especially if there are subheadings or if both are sorted one after the other.

Reflections

Common sense is a key tool for indexers and serves particularly as a balance to reflexivity and as an aid to clarity and readability.  Common sense can carry weight when considering the best construction for main headings or subheadings and whether or not to double-post versus using a cross-reference.  Common sense should be applied to create better, more usable indexes.  For more information about common sense in creating indexes, see the article by Margie Towery “Common Sense: Creating Better Indexes, Part 2.” Heartland Chapter Newsletter of the American Society for Indexing, Fall 2012.  http://www.heartlandindexers.org/common-sense.html

For more information about the services provided by the author of this blog, see the Stellar Searches LLC website, http://www.stellarsearches.com

Newsletter Article Feature

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Meet a Fellow Indexer: Lisa Ryan

The author of this blog, Lisa Ryan, was featured in the Spring 2015 Heartland Chapter Newsletter of the American Society for Indexing (ASI).  The link to the article is below.  “When Lisa isn’t indexing and abstracting books, she’s writing them,” the article says.  “I have written two young adult novels and three screenplays, and I am working to get these published or produced.”  The article gives her background as a journalist before changing careers to library science.  Her biggest influence, she says, was her mother, who was a middle school librarian before retiring.

She earned her Master of Science in Library Science Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She worked as an Indexer/Abstracter for the National Association of Home Builders, then as an Indexer for the U.S. Department of Transportation, both in Washington, D.C.  She founded and developed Stellar Searches LLC in 2007, focusing on research and online searches and then expanded into indexing and abstracting.  She joined ASI shortly thereafter.

Lisa focuses on back-of-the-book, periodical, newspaper, and database indexing and her specialties include science and technology, social science, education, and scholarly works, but she is open to indexing and abstracting a variety of topics.

Read more about Lisa Ryan in the article by Roseann Biederman, “Meet a Fellow Indexer: Lisa Ryan.” Heartland Chapter Newsletter of the American Society for Indexing. Spring 2015. http://www.heartlandindexers.org/meet-lisa-ryan.html

For more information about the services provided by the author of this blog, see the Stellar Searches LLC website, http://www.stellarsearches.com

 

Classification in Indexes

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

While one purpose of an index is to bring information together, the indexer must take care not to become too obsessed with gathering every bit of related information into larger chunks, a practice known as classification.  For example, in a classified index subentries for cattle would be listed under bulls and cows.  Instead of classifying subheadings, an indexer could make main headings for each of the subheadings.  A See reference could be included from cattle to bulls and cows.

Classified entries work well for the reader as long as the subject being subdivided is not too general and as long as the entry does not continue for column after column.  Readers appreciate having all relevant information gathered in one place.  Readers may find it is just as easy to scan a list of classified subheadings as it is to scan a long list of unclassified subheadings.  It is preferable to make classified entries rather than leaving readers guessing whether they have found all the relevant information that might otherwise be scattered throughout the index.

For more information about classification in indexes, see Linda K. Fetters’ Handbook of Indexing Techniques, Fifth Edition. Information Today, Inc.  Medford, New Jersey, 2013, pp.30-32.

For more information about the services provided by the author of this blog, see the Stellar Searches LLC website, http://www.stellarsearches.com

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, http://www.heartlandindexers.org/metatopic.html

For more information about the services provided by the author of this blog, see the Stellar Searches LLC website, http://www.stellarsearches.com

 

Metatopic and Index Structure

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

The metatopic is more than just a characteristic, it is the overarching presence in a book index.  According to Webster’s, meta- means more comprehensive than the original term.  Often used with a discipline, such as linguistics or mathematics, it highlights a discussion in which the discipline itself is the object of critical examination.  The term metadata describes “data about data.”   Do Mi Stauber applies it to the main subject of a text, describing it as the structural center of the index, in which every single heading is implicitly related to it. The structure of an index includes the entry points as headings (and ideas which are more or less important to the metatopic), as well as the cross-references in a system that lies underneath the entry points.  The index structure builds bridges between the user and the content, with the goal of navigation, user satisfaction, guiding retrieval, and discovery.

The metatopic will drive the structural development of the book index.  The ever present problem with metatopics 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, which I will discuss in detail in my next blog posting.

For more information about 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, http://www.heartlandindexers.org/metatopic.html

For more information about the services provided by the author of this blog, see the Stellar Searches LLC website, http://www.stellarsearches.com