Credit: Dianne Hope at

What is an Index?

An index is the organization of key concepts and names within a body of work and how they relate to each other. As such, it is not a mere listing of words and locators (i.e. a concordance). Nor can this thoughtful analysis be performed by artificial intelligence algorithms or any computer program. A human is required. Will it be you or me?

The purpose of an Index

The goal of a quality index is to assist the reader in locating information easily, whether the reader is familiar with the concepts of the subject or someone who is exploring the subject for the first time.

As an author, you want your work to be read and an index will enhance the value of your work considerably. Can you index it yourself? Of course, but a professional indexer will have the knowledge of indexing standards, current best practices, and the indexing tools to create a great index in a shorter period of time. Hiring an indexer is an investment in your work and it will help you avoid the aggravation of learning a new skill and computer software.