The Society of Indexers

Site index: A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N  O  P  Q   R   S   T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

The Wheatley Medal 2012

Wheatley Medal 2012: report of the judging panel
(Chair: Linda Gilbert of CILIP’s Cataloguing and Indexing Group)
 
The panel would like to thank those publishers and indexers who submitted their work this year but regretted that for the second year running there were no scientific books. Spanning the arts and social sciences, including history and archaeology, the indexes were generally competently executed, though sometimes marred by the occasional spelling error or typographic error. Although the panel did not feel able to identify one index as sufficiently outstanding to be awarded the Wheatley Medal, they considered that three stood out above the rest. All three indexes showed a high regard for the needs of users, were well laid out and clearly demonstrated meticulous attention to accuracy and detail. All three indexers are therefore awarded ‘highly commended’ certificates.

The first of these (in alphabetical order of indexer) is to Moira Greenhalgh for her index to Blackstone’s Civil Practice: The Commentary 2012, edited by Stuart Sime and Derek French and published by Oxford University Press in 2011. Intended for specialists within the field of civil law, this 93-page index covered a complex field in great detail, handling legal terminology in a confident manner. The use of bold headings helps the reader find their way to the required topic, and detailed subheadings and subsubheadings hone their search to the precise information they need, using paragraph numbers. In a publication of over 1500 pages of closely spaced text, an in-depth and user-friendly index of this kind is essential. Although the volume includes Tables of Cases, Statutes and Rules, the importance of the index is recognized by the editors, who state that it ‘is usually the best way of finding where a specific topic is discussed’.

The second certificate goes to Auriol Griffith-Jones for her index to The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-century Political Thought, edited by Gareth Stedman Jones and Gregory Claeys and published by Cambridge University Press in 2011. This major work of academic reference (over 1000 pages in length) provides the first comprehensive survey of political thought in Europe, North America and Asia in the century following the French Revolution. A series of essays covers every major theme in nineteenth-century political thought, from political economy to religion, democratic radicalism, nationalism, socialism and feminism. This gave the indexer the huge task of dealing with complex terminology and names and concepts from a wide range of movements, organizations, people and countries. The panel felt that this challenge was expertly managed in the 53-page index, with its detailed and helpful subheadings, useful cross-references and a complete absence of ‘strings’ of page numbers that are all too common in many indexes.

The third certificate goes to Gerard Hill for his index to Livy: the War with Hannibal, translated by J. C. Yardley and published by the Folio Society in 2011. At over 600 pages, this book is a detailed history of the Second Punic War (218–201 BC) , which was a decisive chapter in Rome’s emergence as a great power. This translation of Livy’s work provided the indexer with a huge challenge in ensuring that all of the names and places were covered, and the many identical or similar personal and place names differentiated. This was neatly achieved by the use of descriptors, which mean that the reader can quickly find which Hanno or Hasdrubal, for instance, they are searching for. This index was extremely well presented and laid out, with helpful introductory notes, a guide to the abbreviated names at the foot of every page, and judicious use of chronological subheadings where appropriate.

Biographical information about the highly commended indexers

Moira Greenhalgh has been a freelance indexer for nearly 30 years, specializing in legal materials, and produced the index and tables to Blackstone Civil Practice from the first edition in 2000. She is thrilled to be shortlisted for the Wheatley medal again, as she was for Blackstone’s Criminal Practice in 2005.  For an indexer working largely in isolation, with little or no feedback from authors, editors or users, the citation gives her confidence that she has been doing something right. Moira feels very strongly that legal indexers get little credit for the preparation of tables of cases and statutory materials, a vital task unknown to other subject specialisations.  For many users these tables rather than the index are the primary means of access to the text.

Auriol Griffith-Jones read history at Oxford University and then spent nearly four years in publishing. She trained as an indexer in 1985 and became a Registered Indexer (later Fellow) in 1994, specializing in history, politics and current affairs.  The Cambridge History of 19th-Century Political Thought is one of several of various Cambridge series that she has indexed and offered the typical challenges of a multi-authored book: some variation in depth, scope and style between the chapters, but also differences in terminology and sometimes contradictory arguments.  Over 1,000 pages long, the book covers a huge swathe of Western ideas from the French Revolution to Marxism; industrialisation and imperial expansion to feminism and socialism.

Gerard Hill became an accredited indexer in 1991 after previous careers as teacher and lorry driver. His first job was writing index entries in Latin for Iter Italicum. Since then he has indexed China Trade and Empire, London: The Illustrated History, Anglo-Saxon–Irish Relations before the Vikings, Channels of Resistance in Lebanon and Houdini and Conan Doyle, among other books, co-written The Boy with the Violet Eyes and In Isadora’s Steps, produced a new edition of West’s Guide to the Lakes, proofread five million words in the Dictionary of National Biography, and rewritten or copy-edited many other publications. He lives in Cumbria near the Roman Wall with a Polish wife, two adult children, two sheep and a piano. He is mentoring and tests director of SfEP.

Neil Titman is a discriminating and appreciative client, and Folio books come with fine critical apparatus, but The War with Hannibal raised the usual problems of identification – for instance, Livy’s Capua is not the modern city of that name, which he knew as Casilinum, and there are three people called Spurius Carvilius Maximus. Worse still, most Carthaginians had only one name, so there are three Hannibals, seven Hasdrubals and eight Hannos (though at first there seemed to be ten). Sometimes it was necessary to work out, from the ship, season, wind, weather, distance and strategy, whether two well-separated mentions were likely to be the same person. With 738pp. to index, Gerard shortened Roman given names to save space; but not all readers know the abbreviations, so he explained them in a footer on each page. There were topics to index too, such as portents, prisoners of war and quinqueremes. Folio style is for run-on subheads but, by being a bit creative, Gerard was able to make subheads chronological too where appropriate. At the end, his calculations proved satisfyingly accurate and the index fitted inside the 24pp. available with half a page to spare.

Last updated: 16 July 2012 | Maintained by Webmaster | Page ID: 609
Top of page