Indexes and indexing / Collison (1959)

Citation - Collison, R. L. W. (1959). Indexes and indexing guide to the indexing of books, and collections of books, periodicals, music, gramophone records, films and other material, with a reference section and suggestions for further reading. London: Benn.

Keyword - index, indexing, back-of-the-book index

A little history

  • 原始:人都有「製作指向資訊的工具」的能力(make guide to information)
  • 14th:
    • 「書」此一資訊儲存載體及媒體的發明
    • 一些在書中,指向資訊的設計:
      • 章節標題(chapter heading)
      • 在頁邊的段落標題(paragraph heading in the margin)
      • 在每頁頁首的描述性標題句(a descriptive headline at the top of each page)
      • 但,以上這些都是為了泛泛之讀(rough-and-ready)所設計的
    • 對認真讀者(serious reader)的設計:
      • Index 出現,但,這時期的index與目前所見不同…
        “The word index thus come to include a number of systems of guiding which would not be described as indexes now. Sometimes it denoted a list of contents, at other times a summary, at other times a number of notes, but very rarely did it represent the scientific arrangement of today.”
  • 18th:
    • Alexander Cruden: Concordance of English Bible for ordinary people. 為普通人閱讀聖經所編製的聖經刊靠燈。
    • Samuel Johnson: first English Dictionary. 第一本英文字典。
    • 但是,此時大部分的書籍都沒有附上index
  • 19th:
    • 書內索引:越來越普及
      • Lord Campbell: 建議「對未附有索引之書籍,褫奪其作者所擁有之版權,並課以罰金。」(p.18)
      • 大英百科索引
    • 新聞與期刊索引:Palmer, Poole。
    • 但不易找,而有一些改良:
      • 參考德國人的作法,Catchword: 將文章標題改為以關鍵字為首的方法,如「A short review of drama of the nineteenth century」 –> 「Drama of the nineteenth century, Short review of.」
      • H. W. Wilson: 期刊索引(1901): 每篇文章根據其作者與主題分別編製索引。
  • 20th:
    • 書內索引編製
      • “Quite a large number of British books, and a smaller number of American books, are still published without indexes. What is nearly as bad is that most books appear with totally inadequate indexes, and the reasons are first, that very few people know how to index properly, and secondly, that most publishers do not encourage the provision of really adequate indexes. It has been said by more than one publisher that, in the case of small books at least, indexes are unnecessary, the contents page being sufficient. But in most cases publishers admit the need for an index and then allot too little space for it. It is quite usual to find a book of two hundred and fifty pages with an index of four pages only. Such little space is insufficient for all but the barest finding list. One of the most usual omissions is that of the titles and authors of the books mentioned in the text. Another common fault is the omission of references ot ideas and concepts, references being made to people, places and chapter headings only. ” (p.20)

The indexing of books

General Principle

  • first step: put oneself in the position of the reader as far as possible, bearing in mind too that one reader may differ from another in his knowledge of the subject and in his approach to the book. This at once raises the question whether the author is the best person to index the book.
  • you are the author, or read the book through 2 or 3 times
  • underlined and notes made as the book is read,
  • enter the references, subjects or headings in slips
  • sorting, or keeping all slips in one alphabetical order from the beginning
  • draft his references:

Wider indexing

Reference section