Legal indexing involves indexing of legal materials by form and content. Legal indexers are familiar with legal concepts and classification and are able to translate the classification into an accessible index. Legal indexers are especially involved in the consolidation and updating of existing indexes, and also prepare tables of legislation and cases.
Indexing in General
Indexing is the provision of locators which make it as easy as possible for someone to find what they are looking for in a large collection of information.
This usually involves some kind of semantic analysis : that is, the indexer determines the meaning of the material in the collection, and finds ways to summarise and represent this meaning in an easy-to-use form which is linked to the original information.
Some examples of indexing are:
An alphabetical list of subjects in the back of a book directing readers to the pages in the book on which those subjects are described.
A searchable list of key words which are taken from records in a database and which direct users to those records via a hyperlink system.
An alphabetical listing of place names with longitude and latitude figures directing users to their location.
A ‘time-line’ showing a historical sequence which directs users to the sections of a CD-ROM in which these events are discussed.
An online help system in which various components of a program are linked to relevant help screens.
Although it is difficult to say exactly what indexers do, these are key points:
A large amount of material from which users need to extract smaller units of information.
The indexer produces locators which are used to provide quicker and easier access to the smaller units.
Some analysis of the material is involved in producing the locators – e.g. not just a concordance or full text search system.
The locators follow a meaningful sequence which is usually – but may not be – alphabetical.
Website And Metadata Indexing
Despite the proliferation of automated search engines, there are a number of ways in which human indexers are needed to enhance access to information on the World Wide Web. Website indexes can be similar in style to back of book indexes or can be designed as hierarchical pages, which both link directly to the information required. They complement other navigational tools such as site maps and search engines. Metadata indexers improve the precision of access to Web documents through search engines by the use of standard elements similar to those used in database indexes and library catalogues.