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The Yorkshire Group meets at least four times a year. The annual programme usually includes a peer review, a business-related session, a social or indexing-relevant visit and our AGM followed by a Christmas meal. The group includes experienced and new indexers as well as students. It is a welcoming and friendly group offering members support and encouragement as  well as opportunities for continued professional development. All SI and CIEP members are welcome from near and far.

The Yorkshire Group runs a discussion forum that is open to all members of the Society.

Further information

For further information, please contact the Yorkshire group coordinator, Melanie Gee:

Forthcoming meetings for 2020

Tuesday 30 June 2020 at 10.30 a.m. – virtual meeting via Zoom

A virtual chance for a chat over morning coffee. Contact Melanie Gee: if you haven’t received the link.

Information about face-to-face meetings will be updated here in due course once the lockdown restrictions have been eased. In the meantime, keep in touch with other indexers via SIdeline and the group forums. Don’t forget you can participate in discussions on any of the local group forums. During May 2020, the Yorkshire group ran an online discussion on the Yorkshire group forum in place of the cancelled meetings in March (peer review) and the linked visit to Shibden Hall in June 2020.

Friday 4 September 2020 at 11.00 a.m. at  Showroom Cinema cafe, 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX (provisional, depending on coronavirus situation)

A very convenient venue, with a good cafe/bar and only a stone’s throw from the station. Discussion will focus on on how to speed up our indexing.

Thursday 3 December 2020 at 11.30 a.m. at ASK York, The Grand Assembly Rooms, Blake Street, York, YO1 8QG (provisional, depending on coronavirus situation)

Our traditional AGM and Christmas lunch, in our usual venue in the grand surroundings of the Assembly Rooms. If you’ve got time, have a look round the Christmas market afterwards.

Previous meetings

Tuesday 16 June 2020, visit to Shibden Hall Lister’s Road, Halifax HX3 6XG


Saturday 14 March 2020 at 11.00 a.m. at Café Create, Burton Street, Wakefield WF1 2EB CANCELLLED DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS EPIDEMIC

Peer review meeting

Thursday 5 December 2019, 11.30 a.m. –  ASK York, The Grand Assembly Rooms, Blake Street, York, YO1 8QG

Our Christmas meeting was held at the Assembly Rooms in York. A traditionally good turnout, eight people today, means that we also hold our AGM, planning the next year’s meetings and new possible venues, rotated in order to be convenient to as many people as possible. The usual pattern was followed of one peer review, one index-related discussion and one social, plus Christmas, and leaving space for Conference attendance. Business being concluded we commenced with a party game brought to us by our group co-ordinator, Mel Gee, who had asked us ahead of time to provide facts and ‘fake news’ about ourselves. Given that we were a table of introverts this could have gone horribly wrong, but we had an excellent time guessing which facts were correct. We now know which of our members have earned allotment prizes and passed music grades, and that none of us has been mistaken for the Duchess of Sutherland. This sparked off conversation for the rest our time together as we ate our lunch.

Jody Ineson

Saturday 12 October 2019, 11.00 a.m. – Café Create, Burton Street, Wakefield WF1 2EB

Four of us met at the Create Café in Wakefield to discuss ‘Indexing the Metatopic’, led by our amply prepared group co-ordinator, Mel Gee. We defined simple vs complex metatopics first. Different aspects of the discussion were split into categories in order to prioritise the most knotty and immediate problems, although our small group worked its way through almost everything. Of particular interest were expectations of the author vs reader, appropriate subheadings under the metatopic and how to word them, especially in multi-author works where different terms may have been used. How do we add value  and create new entry points into the text? How do we decipher passing mentions? We came to the conclusion that many books have similar metatopic considerations but biographies are the exception to everything. As we had a student attending, the conversation expanded to general approaches, tips for finding work and trading anecdotes (see War Stories).

Jody Ineson

Wednesday 19 June 2019, 10:30-11:30am – Tour of Leeds Library 

The Leeds Library is the oldest surviving subscription library in the British Isles and seven members met for a guided public tour. Dating from 1768, we learned that women have played a pivotal role in its history. The building boasts beautiful staircases, comfy window seats, and plenty of nooks and crannies in which to secrete oneself. The obligatory ghost takes the form of librarian Vincent Thomas Sternberg, whose physical appearance even in life was suitably frightening, thanks to a gunpowder accident. On one occasion the ghost was followed to the gentleman’s lavatory door (pictured), which still has its original and unusual, if highly unsuitable, green baize covering.

The library’s diverse collection of books and journals reflects the passions of librarians and members past and present. A recent acquisition was David Hockney’s A Bigger Book (2016)  costing £1,800. The library also boasts a large collection of Victorian novels, and that of the Thoresby Society (historical society of Leeds and district).

The Old Librarian’s Office features an original table, a miscellany of artefacts, and books including first editions of Casino Royale and On the Origin of Species – the latter including a mis-spelling of the word “species on one of the pages. Many of the older books are in a state of some disrepair, with a dusting of red “rust” damage associated with the use of gas lights. The ongoing programme of restoration is being carried out in part by an in-house book binder.

After the tour, six of us went on to the Cosy Club for lunch, where we caught up with each other socially.

Mel Gee

Wednesday 6 March 2019, 11.00 a.m – Sheffield, Quaker Meeting House, 10 St James Street, Sheffield S1 2EW

Four of us met for our peer review meeting at the Friends Meeting House, Sheffield. Our text was High Street performance and evolution: a brief guide to the evidence, an interesting  and surprisingly upbeat research summary document published some five years ago;  we suspected the picture might be a little different today.

As usual our indexes included lots of different headings and details teased from a densely packed document. We debated what the metatopic(s) might be (high streets/town centres, certainly, but also probably shoppers, and perhaps also the strength of the evidence base), and how their recognition (or not) influenced our indexing of them.  (Incidentally we plan to have an informal session on the metatopic  this October.) Other points of discussion included how we handled the endnotes,  and whether/how the nature of the document and its intended readership influenced how densely we indexed. One issue with this particular text was the sheer amount of information packed onto each page, which led to ‘just’ page numbers as locators feeling rather inadequate.

I trialled the use of arranging topic cards on the table which we could take in turns to select from, to help prioritise and focus our discussion (see picture).  It was quite fun, and I thought this technique would potentially come into its own with larger groups and/or groups with mixed levels of indexing experience, including students.  Speaking of whom, everyone expressed a keen desire to meet some of our student indexers in future meetings. Please don’t be shy and come along if you can!

Afterwards, three of us enjoyed lunch at the consistently excellent Blue Moon café. Our next meeting is a guided tour of the Leeds Library in June, date to be confirmed.

Mel Gee

Wednesday 5 December 2018, 11.30 am –  ASK York, The Grand Assembly Rooms, Blake Street, York, YO1 8QG

Six of our members met for an enjoyable Christmas lunch and  our informal AGM. We reviewed the year, and planned events for 2019. Ruth Ellis stepped down as group leader and Melanie Gee has now taken on the role.

Saturday 20 October 2018, 11.00 am – Café Create, Burton Street, Wakefield WF1 2EB

This year’s peer review was for the introductory booklet Manage Your Pain from the charity Pain Concern. Whilst on the surface this seems a simple text, it certainly gave us plenty for discussion. We compared the use of specialist medical terms with lay users terms, how to handle the metatopic, the use of verbs rather than nouns as the entry term, consistency of phrasing, whether to index images and text on the same page, and what terms the reader might use that do not exist in the text. The booklet also led to us all considering our own daily routines whilst indexing, including posture, getting enough exercise, and how to manage the housework!

Wednesday 20 June 2018 – Halifax 11.00 am. Meeting at the train station entrance HX1 1QU

Group walking tour of Halifax including a look round the Minster, the new library, Piece Hall and Town Hall followed by lunch at the Square Chapel Café

Monday 23 April 2018, 11.00 a.m – Sheffield, Quaker Meeting House, 10 St James Street, Sheffield S1 2EW

A discussion session on client relationship management. We covered the lifecycle of managing a client, from first negotiations, through managing the indexing schedule, crisis management and discussed how to evaluate your clients in terms of your business. This was followed by lunch at the Blue Moon Café

Wednesday 6 December 2017, 11.30 am –  ASK York, The Grand Assembly Rooms, Blake Street, York, YO1 8QG

Seven group members met on Wednesday 7th December for our informal annual AGM and Christmas lunch at ASK in the Assembly Rooms, York.  We reviewed the meetings we’d held in 2017 and checked the status of our accounts.  Then we scheduled social meetings, a peer review, and workshop session for 2018 before enjoying lunch.  During the meal we discussed the new website & other indexing topics.

Saturday 7 October 2017, 11.00 am – Café Create, Burton Street, Wakefield WF1 2EB

We held our yearly peer review at the Create Café in Wakefield, where six of us met to discuss the text Hali-facts: A heritage discovery trail of Halifax for all ages, a tourist leaflet written with the help of local school children. What seemed initially like a simple text was packed with information and, as is often the case, none of us had included quite the same details.  Our discussion covered the different types of decorative architectural features (memorials can be carvings or statues, but not all statues and carvings are memorials); double entry in short indexes; the tension between creating accurate entries vs following the text and indexing captions.  We discussed the needs and prior knowledge of our potential audience and whether considering format may help – bold headings for main buildings proved popular.

We continued to discuss Halifax over lunch, deciding to consider it for a future group visit, and then shared our experiences of the new Society website and forums.

Jody Ineson

Wednesday 17 May 2017, 11.00 am – National Media Museum, Bradford

Six members of the Yorkshire Group were provided with a very interesting, hour-long, tour of Insight, the Collections and Research Centre of the Museum. This was conducted by Zoe Wolstenholme of the Museum staff. Insight is the secure and supervised access section of the Museum, accessed by arrangement, unlike the many open access areas where the artefacts are on open display in permanent exhibitions:

We firstly saw the extensive archive collection of the former Daily Herald Newspaper which was issued between c1911 and 1965. The Herald was born of an industrial dispute as a newssheet, but in 1912 it was made regular and enduring by George Lansbury, who became its editor. The paper maintained a pacifist stance during the First World War. It provided broad support for the Labour movement, but financial difficulties led to the paper becoming incorporated as a voice for the Labour Party and the Trades Union Congress in 1922. The archive is housed in the original filing cabinets and is accessed via the original indexes by persons, places and themes. The collection is composed of a file of monochrome prints and a glass negatives file.

We next moved to the Small Objects Store and viewed the extensive array of historic cameras. The examples cover the whole of chemical photography, in all formats, from the late 1830s up to the advent of digital photography. Many and varied are the box cameras and bellows cameras, with the Kodak name being prominent, and the relatively brief life of Polaroid cameras is also evident. Included also are lantern slide projectors and the later 35mm slide projectors.

The Large Object Store mainly covers the historical realia of cinematography, television, and to some extent computer technology. Such items as the electromechanical, sound effects machine, of the BBC, is also included, as well as items from John Logie-Baird’s early television system.

Finally, we viewed the exquisite and rare collection of Daguerreotypes which remain startlingly sharp and clear images despite their age and the transience of this early era of photography.

The group repaired to the Museum’s Café for lunch rather than to the traditional Bradford curry house. Thanks to Zoe and the Museum.

Glyn Sutcliffe

Saturday 4 March 2017 at 11.00a.m – Sheffield, Quaker Meeting House, 10 St James Street, Sheffield S1 2EW

Discussion session on working to budget – time, money and page space, followed by lunch at Blue Moon Café.

Wednesday 7 December 2016 – ASK York, The Grand Assembly Rooms, Blake Street, York, YO1 8QG

As usual we planned our December meeting to coincide with the Christmas Fair in York. Eight members met for our informal AGM and Christmas lunch at ASK in the Assembly Rooms. We reviewed the meetings we’d held in 2016 and checked the status of our accounts. Then we scheduled meetings for 2017 before enjoying lunch in the splendid surroundings of the Assembly Rooms. During lunch we discussed the redesign of the SI website and plans for the 2017 conference.

Ruth Ellis

Saturday 15 October 2016 – Café Create, Burton Street, Wakefield WF1 2EB

Six of us met on 15 October at Café Create in Wakefield. The theme was to be about bias and after unsuccessful attempts to find a suitable document to use for a peer review we ended up with a different sort of exercise. We took one of Donald Trump’s policy documents on immigration and had to choose a few terms which we would use for different types of archives – the Trump archive, the Republican Party Archive, The Democratic Party Archive, and The Library of Congress. We all discovered that it was a much more difficult exercise than we originally thought, and that trying to choose biased terms went against our usual indexing instincts of keeping terms neutral. Ruth Ellis led a lively and thought-provoking discussion, and we covered how to deal with topics such as crime, Mexico, “the wall”, employment, immigration control, and illegal immigration. We decided that bias was generally produced with qualifiers rather than the terms themselves. We also discussed how some terms have different meanings in America than they do in Britain. With continuing globalization we wondered how much this will impact on our work as Indexers in the future. We had a lovely lunch before going our separate ways.

Sam Clark