compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion
The publishers of any printed book “worth its salt” - since Caxton & Guttenberg - have invariably been dependent on the indexer, indexing and/or INDEX for the success of the publication. My experience with Oxford University Press (OUP) confirmed that a decent book with a poor index can be incredibly irritating and conversely - on very rare occassions - the INDEX can become “the book”.
Conventions for indexing have always been important and dependent on the individual skill set & experience of the indexer - such that the indexing collective has arisen on a topsy turvy basis. A publisher such as OUP - with its experience of indexing the OED was obviously streets ahead of the competition in respect to collective skill-set and experience and they were able to transfer those capabilities to other areas of their business. It remains the case, however, that the OED still makes the lion's share of its working capital for OUP as a registered charity. As a charity - OUP were slow to look at the advent of computers - and as such many of their own indexing staff moved to the likes of Simon & Schuster and REED and have had significant influence on the evolution of indexing in parallel to the desk-top publishing revolution which Apple established. Standard Query Language (SQL) is just one aspect of same.
In the same way though that - Newspaper & subsequently book publishing has moved the What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) DTP way - so also, after almost two decades, is the whole industry about to move over to direct2print from electronic copy. Although Microsoft VISTA has the vestiges of its own indexing search technology - very much based on the functionality of Apple's own well established version - the advances which will be announced as part of the Leopard OS will be ground-breaking, set a NEW benchmark for ALL to follow and provide the optimum design solution for my own AlphaINDEX - providing the harbinger to a completely NEW concept of accessing data and information on a global basis and the INDEXing thereof from any iPhone on earth.
Having said all of this there are very few people who even want to be indexers and those that do have it in their blood - I would even go as far as saying that it is truly another art form. The only problem to be considered, however, is that artists can still paint in watercolours, oils & acrylic & not have to use computers to create their work - but we are rapidly moving towards a time when the ONLY indexing will be computer based and dependent on the software & hardware technology underpinning it.
Lest we forget NOT to kill the messenger -
Add a Comment