This group met many times over the past year, with much energy expended in co-ordinating meeting times and places, not to mention, recipes of food eaten at meetings! (Did I mention that Indexers are Foodies?) The committee included Linnea Dwyer, S. Anne Fifer, Pat Rimmer, Donna Shear, and Margie Towery. NISO technical report and guidelines were referred to as some standards of the industry, as well as the Chicago Manual of Style 16. We were reminded that 'standards' do not mean that everyone does it.
The group has written the brief of Best Practices as a 'living document'- it is not finalized, and welcomes contributions from Indexing Professionals over a 90 day commentary period. What is brilliant about this document is that it attempts to loop Appendices on specialized subjects back in to the main document. I'm including it here as a pdf file because of its value as a way to organize my own thinking, and before it changes with new contributions from the pros. Eventually, the various specialties will be able to be downloaded separately from the main document.
There were many experts in the field who participated in the talk back, question and answer period of the workshop. One of the illuminating comments from the indexers of children's educational publications revolved around terminology used in national "common core" educational units that had to show up as keywords as part of state standards. The discussion focussed on how these words can become indexing headings and subheadings, usable for children, who may not easily access or understand the index.
The committee had begun to assemble this information in the Appendix A- Children's Books and K-12 Textbooks. I include this excerpt to show just a very small portion of the work of this group and how useful their assembled information already is, to someone like me who is new to the trade:
a. Main headings in elementary level books may be adjectives if they are vocabulary
words, and if the publisher or author requests that all vocabulary words be indexed.
b. Typical children's vocabulary must be used as main headings and should be cross-referenced
to unusual terms used by the author. For example, cars should be used rather
than vehicles. Vehicles should be cross-referenced to cars.
In addition, textbook indexes must reflect the wording in Common Core State Standards
in addition to actual wording in the text if it is not the same. Cross-references should
direct the user between the two. For example, in a Social Studies book the development
of towns is discussed. CCSS wording is "settlements." Both "towns" and "settlements"
should be main headings with a cross-reference from settlements directing the user to
Main headings are commonly boldface type and have initial capital letter, but
formatting must follow the style guide of the publisher.
This committee inspires confidence in ASI standards of practice as a 'living documents' that are liveable.