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Briefing indexers: guidelines for editors

(Extract from the UK Publishing National Occupational Standards)

Element 23.3 Brief indexers and edit indexes and sitemaps

You must be able to:

a. prepare a brief covering type of index, required length, intended reader, levels of entries, style issues, layout, format for presentation, and schedule

b. prepare a brief covering the type of sitemap, content, required features, intended user, style issues, layout, format for presentation and schedule

c. check that the index or sitemap conforms to the brief

d. ensure that the entries conform to house and project style for spelling, punctuation, use of numerals and abbreviations, and are consistent with the text

e. check that the entries at all levels are accurate, logical and correctly cross-referenced

f. check that all sitemap hypertext links are accurate, logical and correctly cross-referenced

g. identify queries and notify appropriate individuals to resolve them

h. complete your work on schedule and within budget

You need to know:

• how and when to use, and the benefits and limitations of available specialist indexing software

• the type(s) of index or sitemap appropriate to the text and the intended market

• the appropriate layout and style for all levels of entry or hypertext links

• how to determine the extent of the index or sitemap

• the conventions for alphabetising and using chronological order

• how to, and the extent to which you should, check references

• the conventions for page or content references

• the conventions for cross-referencing

• the conventions for hypertext and navigation links

• the copyright implications

• the distinction between and implications of working on manuscripts and typescripts to be keyboarded for typesetting, working on hard copy produced from a disk or electronic file that is intended to be used for typesetting externally or page make-up internally, and working on screen, and take steps in the process to ensure high editorial quality regardless of the procedure or tools used

• the house style of the organisation and the specific style of the project, including accessibility, usability, interactivity and metadata guidelines for electronic publications

• how to apply templates and stylesheets to the text, as necessary, and/or generic coding or mark-up

• the schedule and the budget