The American Society of Indexers (ASI) has created a Web site that is interesting on a number of levels. It provides information about the organization, its purpose and objectives, and a means of contacting the national office and individual chapters. It contains a wealth of resources for indexers, many of which are of interest to librarians as well. In addition, the site provides a fascinating glimpse into a field closely related to librarianship but relatively unknown to those outside the publishing industry.
ASI is a national organization which aims to promote excellence in indexing and increase awareness of the value of high-quality indexes. It serves indexers, librarians, publishers, database producers, and others concerned with indexing and information retrieval. Most indexers are freelancers, working from home, and ASI provides its members with a variety of means of communication.
Portions of the Web site are devoted to announcements of continuing education and development opportunities related to indexing, publishing, and the "information industry." One of the primary objectives of the site is to provide access to information that indexers can use in their work. "Indexers' Online Resources" includes a substantial collection of ready-reference links, such as specialized dictionaries and glossaries, organized by discipline. A section on business reference sources includes a number of links related to freelancing and running a small business.
The highlight of the site for non-indexers is the "Information about Indexing" section. Indexing, like cataloging, is invisible to most end-users yet essential to effective retrieval of information. An excellent FAQ on indexing provides an overview of how indexing is done and by whom, outlines the advantages and drawbacks of freelance work, and addresses the role of computers in indexing. The relationship between cataloging and indexing is considered in a fascinating article by Glenda Browne. An extensive bibliography is included as well as a list of specialized indexing software. Anyone compiling even a single index would find a wealth of useful information here.
The ASI site is geared toward back-of-the-book indexing but addresses database indexing as well. The site is well-organized and contains an index (how could we resist, the editors note). Plans for the future include a search engine for the "Indexer Locator" database and a clickable map of local ASI chapters.
University of Oregon