photo by Daniel Hansen

A good index is like a smart mirror. It reflects the text while also processing it, mediating between the content and the reader. Authors will sometimes write their own indexes, encouraged by the fact that most book contracts give them the responsibility for getting it done. But I encourage seeking outside help for this task. An indexer is trained to have what might be called an invested objectivity, a professional empathy for the work and its language. A confused index is a barrier between the book and its audience; a good one is an invitation.

My indexes to date have covered topics related to business, food, history, animals, and the performing arts, including an academic biography, and I am eager to expand my expertise to include the topic for which you need an index created. I have the software and knowledge to produce embedded indexes as well as the standard back-of-the-book variety, and I’m happy to help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of various strategies. Before you ask, I have produced indexes for both Oxford University Press and Harvard University Press, so I understand the necessary workarounds associated with those publishers.

A downloadable sample index I wrote for fun to make up for the lack of one in José Ortega y Gasset’s The Dehumanization of Art and Other Essays on Art, Culture, and Literature (Princeton University Press, 1968), is available below. Other work samples are available upon request.