Indexes in books

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by evangelist6589, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. evangelist6589

    evangelist6589
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    I notice that many authors these days no longer include topical indexes. John MacArthur's earlier books almost always had one, yet his recent books do not. Compare the 1st and 2nd edition of Ashamed of the Gospel. Many other books really need one, yet do not include one. Erwin Lutzer has a wonderful book entitled Christ among other Gods that needs an index. His book on the inerrancy and sufficiency of the scripture also needs one. Why are authors doing this these days? Laziness? Budget issues? Or what?
     
  2. Crabtownboy

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    Evangelist,

    I freelance index. Currently I am working on a book on the biology of speaking and sound. It is a college textbook. Authors seldom index their own books and if they do they are usually not good indexes. Naturally this is not a blanket statement for all authors. Indexing is freelanced to indexers. In fact, these days almost all editorial work is farmed out to indexers. It cost the publisher less ... no benefits, no social security taxes, etc.

    I have indexed books where each chapter was written by a different author. The publisher had the authors mark words in the text they, the author, felt should be included in the index. Normally an author did not mark enough words or they marked just about every word ... both were worthless as being helpful to the indexer.

    My guess the answer to your question is economics. Usually the indexers fee is paid for by the author through the publisher. Perhaps the author, knowing he has a following, wants that small cut of the royalties for himself. It could be the publisher made the decision that there be no index.

    Regardless, you are right. A book, such as the one you mentioned, without an index is a far less valuable book than one with an index. Such books should always have an index.
     
  3. evangelist6589

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    I agree. Erwin Lutzer writes good books, however he needs help with indexes and sometimes spelling and grammar. I have caught some of these errors and reported them but they are not going to republish a book for such errors.


     
  4. Crabtownboy

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    It sounds like they need better editors. Editors should catch misspelling and bad grammar. Editorial work is freelanced also.

    Also it seems to me that in this time with computers and spell checkers it is unforgivable to publish books, even self-published books, with spelling errors.
     
  5. Tom Butler

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    Well, I've learned something new about the publishing business from Crabtownboy.
    I didn't realize they farmed out the indexing, and sometimes editorial work.

    I was an English major, Spanish minor in college, and spent my entire career in broadcast news. Maybe there's a new career out there for me. Oh, maybe not. I don't want to compete with CTB.
     
  6. Deacon

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    Cost is only one consideration.
    Another may be the trend toward digital media.

    Why print an index when it is far simpler to allow a search engine to do the work.

    Rob
     
  7. Crabtownboy

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    Tom, if you are an editor you will not compete with me. I am definitely not an editor. If you want advice on how to get started send me a private message and I will respond.
     
  8. Crabtownboy

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    Rob, unless the digital publication is also indexed in a searchable way it will be difficult to find all that you may need to know with a search engine. Let's say you are using a medical publication for research and you want to find all the information on CAT scans. The authors, for whatever reason, use CAT only once and thirty times use the letters CT and three times use the words Computer Tomography. A search on CAT will only find the one reference, unless the publication is cross-indexed.

    A search engine works fine on single word searches. But it is no good as combining words and cross-referencing unless someone does that type of work in the programming of that particular publication.

    A glossary can be compiled quickly using a computer, but a glossary is not an index.
     
  9. Tom Butler

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    I was half-kidding about getting into the field. I have absolutely no experience in the kind of work you do. I will PM you though for more details on getting started.
     
  10. saturneptune

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    Tom's new book is entitled "Open Communion in the Universal Church."
     
  11. AresMan

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    I did not have a topical index in my book Freedom to Give because I didn't even think about it, and I did not know how to do it in OpenOffice.org/LibreOffice.

    For my second book in progress, I will include a full alphabetical index.
     
  12. AresMan

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    Unfortunately, with spell-checking, people can inadvertently correct misspellings using the wrong word.
     
  13. Crabtownboy

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    That is very true. Also a spell check will never catch a typo that spells a real word. For instance let's say a writer meant to use the word was but accidentally hit the keys wrong and wrote saw. The spell check would never catch the error. Word processing software helps in many ways, but a human is still needed for editing.
     
    #13 Crabtownboy, Jul 18, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2012
  14. AresMan

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    Case in point.


    ;)
     
  15. evangelist6589

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    Yeah I know what you mean. I have found many errors in his books. However not as frequently as books by Ray Comfort & Paul Chappell. I found a TON OF THEM in one of Paul Chappell's books. I reported them, but they never bothered to even call me back. I do not think they care. Publishers want to get a book out to print and they figure that most will not even notice the errors, because of information overload many do not have time to find them.
     

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