Back-of-the-book index

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A back-of-the-book index (or just book index) is a collection of entries, often alphabetically arranged in an index, made to allow users to locate information in a given book (or related document).

Perhaps the most advanced investigation of problems related to book indexes is made in the development of topic maps, which started as a way of representing the knowledge structures inherent in traditional back-of-the-book indexes.

Texts about the indexing of specialized books include: History (Towery, 1998), law books (Kendrick & Zafran, 2001), medicine (Wyman, 1999), psychology (Hornyak, 2002), among others.

Indexing software[edit]

Commercial software packets are available for aiding an indexer in building a book index.[1]

Book indexing as a profession[edit]

In the United States, according to tradition, the index for a non-fiction book is the responsibility of the author, but most authors don't actually do it. Most indexing is done by freelancers hired by authors, publishers or an independent business which manages the production of a book.[2]

American Society for Indexing[edit]

The American Society for Indexing, Inc. (ASI) is a national association founded in 1968 to promote excellence in indexing and increase awareness of the value of well-designed indexes. ASI serves indexers, librarians, abstractors, editors, publishers, database producers, data searchers, product developers, technical writers, academic professionals, researchers and readers, and others concerned with indexing. It is the only professional organization in the United States devoted solely to the advancement of indexing, abstracting and related methods of information retrieval.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • Wu, Z. etc. (2013). Can Back-of-the-Book Indexes be Automatically Created? In Proceedings of CIKM 2013. San Francisco, CA, USA.
  • Diodato, V. (1994). User preferences for features in back of book indexes. Journal of the American Society for Information Science. 45(7), 529-536.
  • Diodato, V. & Gandt, G. (1991). Back of book indexes and the characteristics of author and nonauthor indexing: Report of an exploratory study. Journal of the American Society for Information Science. 42(5), 341-350.
  • Enser, P. G. B. (1985). Automatic classification of book material represented by back-of-the-book index. Journal of Documentation. 41(3), 135-155.
  • Fugmann, R. (2006). Das Buchregister Methodische Grundlagen und praktische Anwendung. Frankfurt am Main : DGI. (DGI Schrift; Informationswissenschaft - 10).
  • Grosch, A. N. (1986). Index-aid: Computer assisted back-of-the-book indexing. Electronic Library. 4(5), 278-280.
  • Hornyak, B. (2002). Indexing Specialties: Psychology. Medford, NJ : Information Today, Inc.
  • Kendrick, P. & Zafran, E. L. (Eds.). (2001). Indexing Specialties: Law. Medford, NJ : Information Today, Inc.
  • School of Library, archival and information studies, The University of British Columbia. Indexing resources on the WWW. Back-of-the-Book indexing. Hentet fra:
  • Schütze, H. (1998). The Hypertext Concordance: A Better Back-of-the-Book Index. I: Proceedings of Computerm ´98 (Montreal, Canada, 1998). D. Bourigault, C. Jacquemin, and M.-C. L´Homme, Eds., pp. 101-104.
  • Stauber, D. M. (2004). Facing the text. Content and structure in book indexing. 1st ed. Eugene, Or.: Cedar Row Press.
  • Towery, M. (Ed.). (1998). Indexing Specialties: History. Medford, NJ : Information Today, Inc.
  • Wyman, L. P. (Ed.). (1999). Indexing Specialities: Medicine. Medford, NJ : Information Today, Inc.
  • Wellish, Hans H. (1995). Indexing from A to Z. 2nd. edition. New York: H.W. Wilson.

External links[edit]