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Indexing

 
  We provide publishers with traditional indexing or electronic indexing and have done so for many years. The index is often both a figurative and a literal afterthought for a publication. At the same time, it can be the first stop for the reader or, more important, the browsing potential reader. Anything in the book worth searching should be indexed.

An efficient index is one that meets the needs of readers who seek any of the information the work contains. This is an uncompromising but accurate definition. So, for example, an index allows the reader to find out whether a book discusses some particular topic, and if it does to locate that discussion quickly. It enables a reader to find and reconsider something already read and perhaps imperfectly remembered. Insofar as it indicates the range and depth of the book, the index may also be useful to reviewers and to potential buyers.

Some indexes do more than this. For the reader researching some particular topic, the index may direct attention to related material in the book, offering useful links, suggesting associations of ideas that may be followed up or rejected as the reader pleases. The index may also give certain additional information, such as dates and full names of individuals cited, provided this is appropriate to the scope of the book.

Software, such as Word and Acrobat (Professional), often offers an indexing option. Using this option can be a quick way to produce an index of your book's text, but please bear the following in mind: The index content will be functional and potentially not as useful to the reader as an index produced by a human, so the author or the editor will find it necessary to improve the content by merging entries into concepts and introducing subentries and cross-references.