Indenxing FAQs

How does one juggle the timing of indexing work coming into a freelance business, especially given that inquiries for work may not turn into actual work?
Inquiries for work are not the same as bookings for work. If clients wish to book you up for work, then you both need to have agreed to an estimate for the work (not necessarily the actual quote for the work, especially if you have not seen it), the time you may expect the work to arrive and when it is due back before you actually make the booking in your work diary.

You should also make clear that if the work arrives late, then you may not be able to return it on the due date. If it arrives substantially late, you may not be able to do the work at all due to other bookings you have already made with other clients. Work that comes in on time, as agreed, should always get priority over work that comes in late.

Always allow for some contingency time – you may be sick for a few days or need to attend a funeral or visit a relative in hospital.

Remember, however, that juggling jobs is a natural part of indexing and the publishing industry and, to a certain extent, of being self-employed. If you don’t like the uncertainty and the pressure, you probably shouldn’t be in business for yourself. You might be better suited to being an indexing hobbyist.

Don’t take on more than you can handle by assuming that some of the work will arrive late. This is a recipe for disaster. Assume that your booked-in work will arrive on time and plan accordingly.

If you receive more work than you can currently handle, refer the client on to a registered indexer in Indexers Available. Registration means that an indexer’s work has been viewed and passed by your professional indexing peers. Help the client out by recommending one or two indexers who specialise in that particular subject area. [Always have a current printout of Indexers Available on your work desk.]

Of course, you could refer the client to the AusSI website but that may take up 20 minutes or more of the client’s time. The client and indexer who gets the job will thank you for your helpful and considered recommendation, and remember you in future situations. The old adage ‘The more you give, the more you receive’ works.

How do you obtain indexing work from overseas and how easy is it to manage compared to work obtained locally?
I obtained my second indexing job,which is also one from overseas, through personal contacts. I am editor of a bi-monthly magazine for the Donkey Society of Victoria, and swap Brayings with magazines from overseas donkey societies. This swapping – plus permissions being obtained to copy articles – involves an amount of emailing (plus donkey photo attachments!) back & forth with office bearers from these other societies. Consequently friendships are formed through the email contact.

My very first index was done voluntarily for the Affiliated Donkey Societies of Australia. After that index was published and the product and its benefit could be demonstrated, I emailed some overseas donkey societies seeking work indexing their publications. So far I have obtained work from the Donkey Society of New Zealand. It really truly helped that my email contact there is also a librarian. She actively lobbied her society’s committee to get an index done.

Currently, I am waiting for the Donkey Breed Society in UK to have its annual general meeting where their secretary will ask them to consider the idea of publishing an index for their publications too. I hope that the exchange rate will work in my favour in getting work with them!

How do you index an article in a journal where the author is purported to be an animal, with or without assistance by a named owner?

For example: the author is Pedro the donkey, assisted by Jane Smith.
Just treat ‘Pedro the donkey’ or any other non-human as an author in the traditional way. Jane Smith can either be treated as a co-author or she can be considered as a pseudonym, where it may be desirable to make a cross-reference of the form:

Smith, Jane see Pedro the donkey (where she hasn’t written anything under her own name)


Smith, Jane see also Pedro the donkey (where she also has articles under her own name)


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