1. I did it for mine, and because I had to do it from PDFs of proofs I ended up doing it by hand on index cards. Worked pretty well, too. I just read through page-by-page, and every time I hit a proper name or significant topic or theme I started a card, or added the page number to a card already started, then typed them up on the PC at the end of it all. I figured the time it would have taken to cross-reference the PDFs with my original word docs to do it all automatically was better spent just getting on with it.

  2. Yeah, that’s kind of what I’m imagining. I’m working from hard copies of proof PDFs, and have a text file in which I’m just keeping track of all of the proper names and significant topics and themes, with page references. But part of my question is on the “significant topic or theme” issue — how significant is significant? And how far down should one subdivide? For instance, in a book on the U.S. novel in the age of television, “television” is obviously important, but way too general. That’ll need several sub-entries, fer sure. But I don’t want to over-index, just as I don’t want to under-index. I think I may need to spend a day just looking at indexes…

  3. If you decide you’d rather let someone else do the indexing, I may be able to put you in touch with someone who does professional book indexing. I know that when my book gets written, I’ll be very tempted o pass that work along to someone else.

  4. There are a lot of great indexing programs out there. None of them are perfect, but most professional book indexers start with at least one run of the electronic file (here is a low-end tool: http://www.virginiasystems.com/products_b.html) in order to catch and sort all the proper nouns. I guess a sabbatical would be the perfect time to hand-tool an index, but it will likely take a lot of work.

    You’ve probably already seen this:


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