Publishing Team
Copy Preparation
Typing Your Book
House Style
Racism & Sexism
The Index

It is usually your responsibility to supply the index. If you are unable to do this we can commission a professional indexer on your behalf, but the cost of this work will be charged to you unless otherwise agreed with your commissioning editor.

We require the index copy with return of your page proofs. Send us a disk and a printout in double-line spacing.

Index entries may be single words, groups of words or whole topics but you should try to foresee the style the reader is likely to expect. For example, ‘Motorways, development of’ is far more useful than ‘Development of motorways’.

When entering page numbers avoid such expressions as ‘159 et seq.’, ‘159ff’ or ‘Chapter 8’. Tighten up the style to ‘159–70’ and ‘200–30’ respectively if the latter is the extent of Chapter 8.

The alphabetical order of an index can be on a letter-by-letter basis or on a word-by-word basis. Indexes ordered on a letter-by-letter basis ignore spaces and hyphens. Whichever system you adopt remember to use it consistently.

Most word processing packages have features which will make indexes from your original text files. This can save some time, but they need to be used with caution. Remember that you want an index which corresponds to the page numbers of the printed book, not to the page numbers in your original copy. This can be overcome by going through your original text on disk and changing the page breaks and page numbers so that they correspond with those in the book but this is something you would have to do yourself. Please note that we are not able to supply you with a disk at this stage which you would be able to use to compile an index using your word processing package.

You should also remember that automatic indexers only deal with words in the text. Some of the most useful index entries are those which classify material in ways not included in the text. For example, it might be useful in a modern history book to have an entry for ‘dictators’ which would refer readers to material on Stalin, Hitler, Franco and Mussolini.