Writing jobs people do better than computers – indexing


A blog called Editorial Inspirations has a terrific post about why a human can create a book index better than a computer can. If you are wrapping up your non-fiction book project, chances are you’ve figured out your readers need an index to make the most of your book. You may find it isn’t always a good idea to use indexing software, and if you do use it, for goodness sake, use the best.

April Michelle Davis, the blog writer says,

An indexer is a person who reads a book and organizes the information, themes, ideas, and facts into an alphabetical list with terms that the average reader would look up.

On first glance, you might think that process could certainly be automated, but you’d be wrong simply because a computer isn’t intuitive and can’t extrapolate concepts out of statements. As April Davis points out, suppose you write about sports that use balls. One segment of the chapter mentions pelota the ball used in jai alai. Would a computer be able to pick that out to list it in an index?

By the way, I found April Michell Davis through Copyediting.com, a terrific resources for writers, proofers and editors (they tweet as copyediting). Drop over there and have a read. Read April’s blog and consider the other things in our industry that computers will never be able to do well. Will you help make a list here in comments, please? Thanks.

Two terrific people to follow on Twitter this week:




Why I buy self-published books

Six fantastic markets for writers

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