Indexes: A Chapter from The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed.

Indexes: A Chapter from The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed.

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by University of Chicago Press Staff

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This volume contains all the material from The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition that relates to indexes and the work of indexing. Thoroughly updated to reflect current accepted practices, it is an indispensable guide for anyone preparing an index.


This volume contains all the material from The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition that relates to indexes and the work of indexing. Thoroughly updated to reflect current accepted practices, it is an indispensable guide for anyone preparing an index.

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Copyright © 2010 The University of Chicago
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ISBN: 978-0-226-83614-0

Chapter One

16 Indexes

Overview 16.1 Components of an Index 16.9 Main Headings, Subentries, and Locators 16.9 Cross-References 16.15 Run-In versus Indented Indexes 16.24 General Principles of Indexing 16.29 Indexing Proper Names and Variants 16.32 Indexing Titles of Publications and Other Works 16.47 Alphabetizing 16.56 Letter by Letter or Word by Word? 16.58 General Rules of Alphabetizing 16.62 Subentries 16.68 Personal Names 16.71 Foreign Personal Names 16.76 Names of Organizations and Businesses 16.88 Names of Places 16.90 Punctuating Indexes: A Summary 16.94 The Mechanics of Indexing 16.101 Before Indexing Begins: Tools and Decisions 16.101 When to Begin 16.108 What Parts of the Work to Index 16.109 Marking Proofs and Preparing Entries 16.117 Editing and Refining the Entries 16.126 Submitting the Index 16.131 Editing an Index Compiled by Someone Else 16.132 Typographical Considerations for Indexes 16.135 Examples of Indexes 16.141


16.1 The back-of-the-book index as model. This chapter offers basic guidelines for preparing and editing an index. Much of the advice-modeled on the requirements for a back-of-the-book index for a printed-and-bound scholarly monograph-applies also to indexes for journals and other types of works. General principles of indexing are covered, as are the specifics of Chicago's preferred style in matters of typography, alphabetizing, and the like.

16.2 Why index? In this age of search engines, the question "Why index?" is frequently asked. For a printed-and-bound book, the answers are clear. A good index gathers all the key terms and subjects (grouping many of the former under the conceptual and thematic umbrella of the latter), sorts them alphabetically, provides cross-references to and from related terms, and includes specific page numbers or other locators. This painstaking intellectual labor serves readers of any book-length text, whether it is published on paper or online. An index, a highly organized, detailed counterpart to a table of contents and other navigational aids, is also insurance-in searchable texts-against fruitless queries and unintended results.

16.3 Who should index a work? The ideal indexer sees the work as a whole, understands the emphasis of the various parts and their relation to the whole, and knows-or guesses-what readers of the particular work are likely to look for and what headings they will think of. The indexer should be widely read, scrupulous in handling detail, analytically minded, well acquainted with publishing practices, and capable of meeting almost impossible deadlines. Although authors know better than anyone else their subject matter and the audience to whom the work is addressed, not all can look at their work through the eyes of a potential reader. Nor do many authors have the technical skills, let alone the time, necessary to prepare a good index that meets the publisher's deadline. Some authors produce excellent indexes. Others would do better to enlist the aid of a professional indexer.

16.4 The indexer and deadlines. Most book indexes have to be made between the time page proofs are issued and the time they are returned to the typesetter-usually about four weeks. (For an illustration of how indexing fits into the overall publishing process for books, see 2.2.) An author preparing his or her own index will have to proofread as well as index the work in that short time span. Good indexing requires reflection; the indexer needs to stop frequently and decide whether the right choices have been made. A professional indexer, familiar with the publisher's requirements, may be better equipped for such reflection. For journals that publish a volume index (see 1.103), the indexer may have several months to prepare a preliminary index, adding entries as new issues of the journal arrive. The final issue in the volume is typically indexed from page proofs, however, and the indexer may have as little as a week to work on the last issue and prepare the final draft of the index.

16.5 The role of software in indexing. A concordance-or a complete list of terms (typically minus articles, propositions, and other irrelevant elements), with page references-can be produced for any manuscript by any number of word- processing programs. Such concordances are mainly unhelpful; in fact, the assumption that an index rather than a concordance can be generated from an electronic document without significant human intervention is false. Most indexes for publications destined for print are produced from scratch, typically from paginated page proofs, either electronic or hard copy, generated by a page-layout program. Word processors are typically used in entering and editing terms and locators in a separate document and can provide rudimentary help in the process of sorting entries and managing cross-references. Dedicated word processors for indexers can automate many of the formatting and cross-referencing tasks particular to indexing and are a good investment especially for professional indexers (see 16.104). See also 16.7.

16.6 Single versus multiple indexes. A single, comprehensive index-one that includes concepts and names of persons and other subjects-is recommended for most works. Certain publications, however, such as journals and lengthy scientific works that cite numerous authors of other studies, may include an index of named authors (see 16.115) in addition to a subject index. An anthology may include an author-and-title index, and a collection of poetry or hymns may have an index of first lines as well as an index of titles. It is generally an advantage if two or more indexes appearing in one work are visually distinct from one another so that users know immediately where they are. In a biological work, for example, the headings in the index of names will all be in roman type and will begin with capital letters, and there will be no subentries, whereas most of the headings in the general subject index will begin lowercase and many subentries will appear; and if there is a taxonomic index, many headings will be in italics. Separate running heads should be used, indicating the title of each index (e.g., Index of Names, Index of Subjects).

16.7 Embedded indexes. An embedded index consists of key terms anchored with underlying codes to particular points in the text of an electronic publication. These terms can facilitate a reader's queries to a search engine in much the same way that a good subject index gathers keywords under subject headings to increase the chances that a reader will be led only to the relevant areas of a text. For example, a search for the word "because" in a properly coded online encyclopedia might lead to those passages that discuss the Beatles' Abbey Road song "Because" rather than to every instance of the omnipresent conjunction. The principles of selection for embedded indexes are similar to those for traditional back-of-the-book indexes. In fact, some publishers anchor traditional back-of-the-book indexes to the files that drive their print publications in order to facilitate hyperlinked and page-independent indexes for concurrent or future electronic editions.

16.8 Resources for indexers. For greatly expanded coverage of the present guidelines, along with alternative methods, consult the second edition of Nancy Mulvany's Indexing Books (bibliog. 2.5). Anyone likely to prepare a number of indexes should acquire that work. For further reference, see Hans H. Wellisch, Indexing from A to Z, and Linda K. Fetters, Handbook of Indexing Techniques (bibliog. 2.5).

Components of an Index

Main Headings, Subentries, and Locators

16.9 Main headings for index entries. The main heading of an index entry is normally a noun or noun phrase-the name of a person, a place, an object, or an abstraction. An adjective alone should almost never constitute a heading; it should rather be paired with a noun to form a noun phrase. A noun phrase is sometimes inverted to allow the keyword-the word a reader is most likely to look under-to appear first. The heading is typically followed by page (or paragraph) numbers (see 16.13) and sometimes a cross-reference (see 16.15-23). For capitalization, see 16.11.

agricultural collectivization, 143-46, 198 Aron, Raymond, 312-14 Bloomsbury group, 269 Brest-Litovsk, Treaty of, 61, 76, 85 Cold War, 396-437 Communist Party (American), 425 Communist Party (British), 268 imperialism, American, 393, 403 police, Soviet secret. See Soviet secret police war communism, 90, 95, 125 World War I, 34-61 Yalta conference, 348, 398

16.10 Index subentries. An entry that requires more than five or six locators (page or paragraph numbers) is usually broken up into subentries to spare readers unnecessary excursions. A subentry, like an entry, consists of a heading (usually referred to as a subheading), page references, and, rarely, cross- references. Subheadings often form a grammatical relationship with the main heading, whereby heading and subheading combine into a single phrase, as in the first example below. Other subheadings form divisions or units within the larger category of the heading, as in the second example. Both kinds can be used within one index. See also 16.127. For sub-subentries, see 16.27, 16.28.

capitalism: and American pro-Sovietism, 273, 274; bourgeoisie as symbol of, 4, 13; as creation of society, 7; Khrushchev on burying, 480; student protests against, 491, 493

Native American peoples: Ahualucos, 140-41; Chichimecs, 67-68; Huastecs, 154; Toltecs, 128-36; Zapotecs, 168-72

16.11 Initial lowercase letters in main headings. The first word of a main heading is normally capitalized only if capitalized in text-a proper noun (as in the second example in 16.10), a genus name, the title of a work, and so on. Traditionally, all main headings in an index were capitalized. Chicago recommends this practice only where the subentries are so numerous that capitalized main headings make for easier navigation. Indexes in the sciences, however, should generally avoid initial capitals because the distinction between capitalized and lowercased terms in the text may be crucial.

16.12 Initial lowercase letters in subheadings. Subheadings are always lowercased unless, as in the second example in 16.10, the keyword is capitalized in text (a proper noun, a genus name, the title of a work, etc.).

16.13 Locators in indexes. In a printed work, locators are usually page numbers, though they can also be paragraph numbers (as in this manual), section numbers, or the like. When discussion of a subject continues for more than a page, paragraph, or section, the first and last numbers (inclusive numbers) are given: 34-36 (if pages), 10.36-41 (if paragraphs), and so on (see 16.14). The abbreviations ff. or et seq. should never be used in an index. Scattered references to a subject over several pages or sections are usually indicated by separate locators (34, 35, 36; or 8.18, 8.20, 8.21). Though the term passim has often been used to indicate scattered references over a number of not necessarily sequential pages or sections (e.g., 78-88 passim), individual locators are preferred. For use of the en dash, see 6.78.

16.14 Inclusive numbers in indexes. Publishers vary in their preferences for the form of inclusive numbers (also known as continuing numbers). Although the simplest and most foolproof system is to give the full form of numbers everywhere (e.g., 234-235), Chicago prefers its traditional system (presented below), which is efficient and unambiguous. The system is followed in all examples in this chapter. Whichever form is used in the text should be used in the index as well.

Roman numerals are always given in full-for example, xxv-xxviii, cvi-cix. For use of the en dash between numerals, see 6.78; see also 9.58, 9.59


16.15 Cross-references in indexes-general principles. Cross-references are of two main kinds-see references and see also references. Both are treated differently according to whether they refer to a main heading or to a subheading. See and see also are set in italics (but see 16.22). Cross-references should be used with discretion; an overabundance, besides irritating the reader, may signal the need for consolidation of entries.

16.16 "See" references and "double posting." See references direct a reader from, for example, an informal term to a technical one, a pseudonym to a real name, an inverted term to a noninverted one. They are also used for variant spellings, synonyms, aliases, abbreviations, and so on. The choice of the term under which the full entry appears depends largely on where readers are most likely to look. See references should therefore be given only where the indexer believes many readers might otherwise miss the full entry. Further, the indexer and anyone editing an index must make certain that no see reference merely leads to another see reference (a "blind cross-reference"). If, on the other hand, the entry to which the see reference refers is about the same length as the see reference itself, it is often more useful to omit the see reference and simply give the page numbers under both headings. Such duplication (or "double posting") will save readers a trip.

FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), 145-48 Federal Bureau of Investigation, 145-48 rather than Federal Bureau of Investigation. See FBI

See also 16.46.

16.17 "See" references following a main heading. When a see reference follows a main heading, as it usually does, it is preceded by a period and See is capitalized. If two or more see references are needed, they are arranged in alphabetical order and separated by semicolons. They reflect the capitalization and word order of the main heading.

adolescence. See teenagers; youth American Communist Party. See Communist Party (American) baking soda. See sodium bicarbonate Clemens, Samuel. See Twain, Mark de Kooning, Willem. See Kooning, Willem de Den Haag ('s Gravenhage). See Hague, The Lunt, Mrs. Alfred. See Fontanne, Lynn Mormons. See Latter-day Saints, Church of Jesus Christ of Roman Catholic Church. See Catholicism The Hague. See Hague, The Turwyn. See Terouenne universities. See Harvard University; Princeton University; University of Chicago van Gogh, Vincent. See Gogh, Vincent van Virgin Queen. See Elizabeth I

16.18 "See" references following a subheading. When a see reference follows a subheading, it is put in parentheses and see is lowercased.

statistical material, 16, 17, 89; coding of, for typesetter (see typesetting); proofreading, 183

This usage applies to both run-in and indented indexes, and to subsubentries. See 16.27 , 16.28.

16.19 "See" references to a subheading. Most see references are to a main entry, as in the examples in 16.17. When a cross-reference directs readers to a subentry under another main heading, see under may be used.

lace making. See under Bruges Pride and Prejudice. See under Austen, Jane

An alternative, to be used when a see under reference might fail to direct readers to the right spot, is to drop the word under and add the wording of the subheading, following a colon. (Although a comma is sometimes used, a colon is preferred.) The wording of the cross-reference must correspond to that of the relevant subheading so that readers can find it quickly.

lace making. See Bruges: lace making Pride and Prejudice. See Austen, Jane: Pride and Prejudice


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Indexes: A Chapter from The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed. 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Nook edition does not show indentation in the index samples, which is a serious problem when it's trying to explain what to indent & how much. I recommend sticking with the traditional paper format.
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