The Society of Indexing

One of the books which I managed to fit into my bags on my return to Beijing this time, was The Ideology of the Aesthetic by Terry Eagleton. I’ve had a copy of this for a few years now, and at some point I will actually read it, but that’s not what prompted this post.

It’s about a little note I saw as I was flicking through the book. On the very last page, at the end of the index, in some very unassuming, italicised text, it says “Index compiled by Meg Davies (Society of Indexers).”

Wow. There’s a Society of Indexers? And they get to put their names on their work? Now that’s fascinating (to me, at least). I looked them up. The UK branch can found at www.indexers.org.uk, but there are many groups around the world, including a Mr. Qin Banglian in China. They describe their role as “exist[ing] to promote indexing, the quality of indexes and the profession of indexing.”

A lot of books don’t need indexes, but when they do, I’m glad there’s a group of people devoted to maintaining the standards of textual referencing.

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