Albena Azmanova. Capitalism on Edge: How Fighting Precarity Can Achieve Radical Change without Crisis or Utopia. Columbia UP, 2020.
Sigal R. Ben-Porath and Michael C. Johanek. Making Up Our Mind: What School Choice Is Really About. U of Chicago P, 2019.
Michael Schmidt. Gilgamesh: The Life of a Poem. Princeton UP, 2019.
Sarah Stroumsa. Andalus and Sefarad: On Philosophy and Its History in Islamic Spain. Princeton UP, 2019.
Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger. The Holy Roman Empire: A Short History. Princeton UP, 2018.
Şeyla Benhabib. Exile, Statelessness, and Migration: Playing Chess with History from Hannah Arendt to Isaiah Berlin. Princeton UP, 2018.
Randall Curren and Charles Dorn. Patriotic Education in a Global Century. U of Chicago P, 2018.
David Kloos. Becoming Better Muslims: Religious Authority and Ethical Improvement in Aceh, Indonesia. Princeton UP, 2018.
Tom Mole. What the Victorians Made of Romanticism: Material Artifacts, Cultural Practices, and Reception History. Princeton UP, 2017.
William Chester Jordan and Jenna Rebecca Phillips, eds. The Capetian Century: 1214–1314. Brepols, 2017.
Charles Dorn. For the Common Good: A New History of Higher Education in America. Cornell UP, 2017.
Betsy Chunko-Dominguez. English Gothic Misericord Carvings: History from the Bottom Up. Brill, 2017.
Edward J. Balleisen. Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff. Princeton UP, 2017.
John F. Haldon. A Tale of Two Saints: The Martyrdoms and Miracles of Saints Theodore “the Recruit” and “the General.” U of Liverpool P, 2016.
Gernot Wagner and Martin L. Weitzman. Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet. Princeton UP, 2015.
Helmut Reimitz. History, Frankish Identity and the Framing of Western Ethnicity, 550–850. Cambridge UP, 2015.
John F. Haldon. The Empire That Would Not Die: The Paradox of Eastern Roman Survival, 640–740. Harvard UP, 2016.
Lawrence Douglas. The Right Wrong Man: John Demjanjuk and the Last Great Nazi War Crimes Trial. Princeton UP, 2016.
William Chester Jordan. From England to France: Felony and Exile in the High Middle Ages. Princeton UP, 2015.
Katherine Harper, Ph.D.
How frustrating! You picked up that book expecting to be able to read about the topic you wanted right away—but you can't, because it has no index.
Your reaction may be a silent Didn't this author think anyone would care? or maybe even How unprofessional. What probably happened is that the author didn't know how to compile one. Indexing isn't an automated process—it's a manual task that takes a great deal of patience and acquired skill, not to mention time. It's really a job for a professional.
The excerpt at right is from a book about misericords, a type of folding seat in medieval cathedrals. I compiled this index by reading a proof of the book a sentence at a time, including the notes ("n"), and jotting down what I found. The names were easy. However, indexing concepts and themes meant tracing them across spans of many pages. Then I had to break them down into smaller topics for readers who were looking for something specific—say, misericords decorated with carvings of misericord-carvers at work.
The book is illustrated, so I added those page numbers in italics. (St. Mary of Egypt, for example, is written about on pages 11 through 13 and 15 through 21 and there are pictures of her on pages 11, 12, and 16.) Then I had to think about what else a reader looking up a term might be interested in and add cross-references. A manticore is a mythical creature made up of parts of different animals or monsters. Someone interested in those, I thought, might also want to read about other mashups, such as blemmyes (giant human heads with legs). Creating this index was a time-consuming process, but the author and I both know that her future readers will find it helpful.
If your nonfiction book or instruction guide or company history needs the professional touch that only an index can provide, please contact me for a free cost estimate.