Facing the Text, by Do Mi Stauber (2004)

Genre: Nonfiction
Interest Level: Adults (and likely only a few of you!)
Facing the TextA colleague recommended this text (and even lent it to me – thanks Susie!) when I expressed an interest in learning to do back-of-book indexing, aka BOB indexing.
Stauber is a leading light in the indexing world, and her text is a blend of theory and practice – just what I was looking for. I took an indexing class as part of my MLIS degree, but it’s been more than 10 years and I wanted a refresher. Those indexing principles came back to me quickly as I read the text, so it’s hard to gauge how clearly Stauber expresses these ideas for someone who’s new to the field. It seemed crystal clear to me. She explains the idea and gives examples, sometimes, to clarify concepts and procedures. Her writing is clear, and she uses page references to help remind the reader of topics and principles she’s already addressed. Indexing books is art as much as a science. After reading this book, I find myself reviewing index entries more closely, and while I’ve maintained that information book reviews should critically comment on lack of indices, I now feel the reviewer should look at the index closely to make sure it’s complete and helpful to the researcher.
If you want to take a look at the book’s index (it won an award for excellence in indexing, naturally!), Do Mi has placed it online at http://www.domistauberindexing.com/.
An excellent resource for wannabe indexers, and a fascinating read for anyone with the merest interest in indices and the different ways researchers, from young to old, access information.


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