Indexing basics

Tutor: Jan Worrall (FSocInd)

Have you ever considered indexing as a career? Do you feel you might be an indexer at heart but would like to find out more about what the work really involves? This online workshop caters both for absolute beginners and for those who have begun indexing training, perhaps working on Module A of the Society’s Training Course. It offers:

  • An overview of the indexing process and an introduction to some of the basic principles of good indexing
  • Powerpoint presentation with linked contents list so that you can refer back to particular sections easily
  • Thirteen practical exercises related to many of the topics, and including short indexing exercises, prepared by an experienced tutor who is also a practising indexer
  • Tutor support through email

The workshop is delivered as a Powerpoint presentation with exercises interspersed throughout. Once you have completed the exercises you can contact the tutor by email with any questions or to elucidate any points you are not sure about.

The indexing exercises range in length from a  paragraph of text to a 20-page booklet; professional index solutions are provided, with notes, for comparison.

The workshop takes 6-7 hours to complete.

Workshop content


  • What is an index?
  • What makes a good index?
  • Human analytical indexing
  • Qualities and skills

Creating index entries

  • Deciding what to index
  • Significance and relevance
  • Term selection
  • Names indexing
  • Different user groups

Developing the index

  • Alphabetical arrangement
  • Subheadings
  • Cross-references
  • Locators
  • Modifiers and qualifiers

Editing and checking

  • Editing process
  • Checking the index

Working methods

  • Processes
  • Indexing software

Finding out more

  • Training
  • Resources


Jan Worrall (FSocInd) was the Society’s Training Course Coordinator from 2013-2021. She has been indexing since 1999 and has been a tutor for the SI training course since 2007.


This is just to let you know that I have passed the test for Module A and to say a big thank you for your online course. I truly believe that your course played a crucial part in guiding me and preparing me for the test.  The exercises have proved immensely helpful.   Sophia Avraam, Module A student

I found it to be an excellent introduction to indexing and there was so much information to absorb. It really does give the student a good overview of what indexing involves, and it has certainly motivated me to learn more and to consider a career in indexing.  Sarah Freshwater

To book this workshop go to the online SI-Shop.