In our Google era, indexers are the unsung heroes of the publishing world

In our Google era, indexers are the unsung heroes of the publishing world

One of the things that’s commonly imagined is that indexing is, in the age of Google, something that can be outsourced to a computer algorithm. Dead wrong. A concordance – essentially, an alphabetical list of all the words in a book with page references – can be done by a computer. But an index, to be useful, needs to be done by a human. In a book about the Middle East, say, an entry that said: “Syria 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 23, 25, 26, 27 … ” would be no use at all.

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