Writing index entries: finding the words

Participation in this workshop earns 4 SI CPD points in the Indexing Skills category

Tutor: Ann Hudson (FSocInd)

‘The best heading is concise, comprehensible, unambiguous, and fitting to the topic and context. It should be as long as it needs to be, but no longer than is necessary.’ (Pat F. Booth, Indexing: the manual of good practice)

Wise words – but how do we define, for example, ‘concise’ or ‘as long as it needs to be’? How do we ensure that our headings are as clear and useful as possible?

This workshop explores topics such as choosing the best keyword, dealing with inconsistencies and ambiguities in the text, using modifiers and qualifiers, filing prepositions and conjunctions, and when to use inversion. We will also consider how far subheadings should be treated in the same way as main headings. Teaching points are reinforced with practical exercises.

The workshop is suitable for students (though not absolute beginners) and qualified indexers who would like to brush up on their skills. It complements rather than duplicates material in the SI Training Course. It is an updated and expanded version of Ann’s ‘live’ workshop on the same topic. It includes more and longer practical exercises than can be accommodated in a ‘live’ workshop, and the price includes one-to-one tutor support. Once you have worked through the course and submitted your answers to the exercises you will receive a Certificate of Completion which you can use as evidence of training or CPD.

Workshop features

  • Powerpoint format: read it on your PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone
  • Save time and money: no need to travel to a workshop venue
  • Practical exercises to reinforce your learning
  • Work at your own pace: do it when you want, start and stop when you like, go back to revise sections if you need to, and spend as long as you like on the practical exercises
  • Three-part division enables you to work in stages if you want to
  • Keep the course materials to refer back to later on
  • Informal teaching style, with a lively and enthusiastic approach to the topic
  • One-to-one tutor support by email included in the price, providing answers to the practical exercises and to any other queries arising from the workshop (up to one hour of tutor time)


Ann Hudson (FSocInd) is currently the SI Training Director. She is an experienced teacher and is well known in SI as a workshop leader and tutor for online tutorials. She has also delivered in-house workshops for publishers. She has been indexing for more than 30 years and draws on her extensive experience for this workshop. She is fascinated by all aspects of indexing and aims to make her workshops to be enjoyable as well as useful.


The exercises were really useful in helping me to identify my weaknesses. I enjoyed the combination of doing the workshop in stages at home, reading the tutor’s suggested answers to the exercises, and then asking questions and getting one-to-one guidance. The PowerPoint material is not just a springboard for the exercises – I’ve kept it and shall be consulting it again. (Priscilla Balkwill)

I found the workshop very interesting and helpful and it is the sort of material that I will keep referring back to for some time to come. I enjoyed working through the exercises although I found most of them quite challenging. Yet they were all quite practical and useful in terms of developing my capabilities as a future indexer. (Sophia Avraam)

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