Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Indexing for Fun

I've finished and sent off the index. Compiling an index is (in my limited experience) far harder and more laborious a task than could be imagined - more time-consuming too. It's easy enough tracking every mention of a person or a text; it's the conceptual entries which are the more elusive. Which ones to include? As space was a little tight I decided to accentuate those concepts that are integral to digimodernism (onwardness, competence, etc.) rather than those associated with postmodernism (hyperreality, depthlessness, etc.), which will have to take their own chances. And even when you've sorted out what goes in you have to distinguish between "mere mentions" of a person, text or topic, and "substantive discussion". As guidelines on indexing tell you, you don't index Churchill for sentences like "John Major was no Winston Churchill". Such guidelines also emphasize that an index is not a concordance, which may well be a wise reminder, since many writers consider their books founts of near-biblical truth....

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