"O, that way madness lies." King Lear, Act 3, Scene 4
Indexing requires painstaking attention to detail and the ability to memorize hundreds of entries at a time. It’s about organizing seeming-chaos and putting it into alphabetical order. In large part, it’s about intuiting the authors’ minds and understanding what is important to them to log in an index. In short, a sure road to madness.
As the Chicago Manual of Style says: "The ideal indexer sees the work as a whole, understands the emphasis of the various parts and their relation to the whole, and knows--or guesses--what readers of the particular work are likely to look for and what headings they will think of. The indexer should be widely read, scrupulous in handling detail, analytically minded, well acquainted with publishing practices, and capable of meeting almost impossible deadlines. Although authors know better than anyone else their subject matter and the audience to whom the work is addresses, not all can look at their work through the eyes of a potential reader. Nor do many authors have the technical skills, let alone the time, necessary to prepare a good index that meets the publisher's deadline. Some authors produce excellent indexes. Others would do better to enlist the aid of a professional indexer."
Over the past two decades, I have developed the ability to mentally index as I read, thereby minimizing the time it takes to create a written index.
- Helenisms, by Katerina Zacharia (2008, Ashgate Variorum Publishers)
- The Inquiring Mind, by Jason Baehr (2011, Oxford University Press)
- Between Religion and Culture: Three Generations of Iranian Jewish Women from the Shahs to Los Angeles, by Saba Soomekh (2011, SUNY Press)
- The Assyrian Heritage: Threads of Continuity and Influence, edited by Önver A. Cetrez, Sargon G. Donabed, and Aryo Makko (2012, ACTA Universitatis Upsaliensis: Studies in Religion and Society 5)
- Religion and the State: Europe and North America in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, by Josh Stein and Sargon Donabed (2012, Lexington Books)
- A Defense of Dignity: Creating Life, Destroying Life, and Protecting the Rights of Conscience, by Christopher Kaczor (2013, University of Notre Dame Press)
- Natural Mystics, by Varun Soni (2014, Figueroa Press).
- Reforging a Forgotten History: Iraq and the Assyrians in the Twentieth Century, by Sargon George Donabed (2015, Edinburgh University Press).
- Decentering Discussions on Religion and State: Emerging Narratives, Challenging Perspectives, edited by Sargon George Donabed and Autumn Quezada-Grant (2015, Lexington Books).
“Ann was instrumental in the creation of a glossary of foreign words and an extensive index. ... Ann worked tirelessly with me to complete a thorough index at the required scholarly level. I recommend Ann Aubrey Hanson unreservedly to anyone working with tight deadlines. Ann will work efficiently and will not rest until she has completed the task to her client’s satisfaction.”
Dr. Katerina Zacharia, Professor and Chair, Department of Classics and Archaeology, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.