ASI conference presentations: a content analysis of major topics, 1997-2012 Page: 202
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Sassen: ASI conference presentations
Table I Major topics of conference presentations
Topic No. of sessions
Indexing specialties 178
Resources for indexers I 18
Business aspects of indexing I I I
Indexing techniques and methods 97
Activities related to indexing 38
Professional issues 27
Evaluation of indexes 22
Personal development 8
over the years, as well as the terms used to describe
them. They included workshops, seminars, general sessions,
breakout sessions, plenary sessions, question and answer
sessions, panels, roundtables, and keynote addresses.
Excluded from the investigation were reports of awards
ceremonies, business meetings, dinners, receptions, orien-
tations, tours, software fairs, and one-on-one peer review
This content analysis is based on major topics in presentations
that were described in preliminary program announcements
and conference reports. It does not constitute an exhaustive
examination of all subjects addressed in each presenta-
tion. This study excluded a few presentations because their
descriptions did not provide enough information for content
analysis. It is not known if all of the presentations listed in
the preliminary programs were actually given at the confer-
ences. Presentations were excluded from the analysis if
the Key Words conference reports indicated that they were
Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of analyzing
content from conference presentations is deciding how to
categorize the topics. Calls for ASI conference presentation
proposals have included a wide variety of categories. This
analysis included eight categories, which appear in rank
Re tourc ifor Indexers
B ness Aspects of Indexing
Index ing Techn iques s nd M ethods
Act ties Related ta Indexi
Evaluat ion on Indexes
0 20 40 60o lO 10 iloo 1410 Io z& 2oo
Figure I Major topics of conference presentations
order in Table 1 and Figure 1. Some presentations were
placed in more than one category because they covered
more than one major topic.
The term 'indexing specialties' refers to the indexing of
particular subjects, genres or formats. This was the largest
category in the study, and was covered in 178 presentations.
All 16 conferences included presentations in this area.
The indexing of electronic media was the most popular
subject in this category. There were 71 presentations on
this theme, and it was discussed at every conference from
1997 through 2012. Specific subjects included web indexing,
embedded indexing, database indexing, online help indexing,
ebook indexing, and CD-ROM indexing.
Trends in presentations on electronic media indexing
reflect changes in the publishing industry. Presentations
on CD-ROM indexing have diminished sharply since 2000,
while those on indexing material available on the Web have
increased dramatically. This reflects the fact that many
types of resource that once were issued on CD-ROM are
now made available online. Another trend concerns the
growing popularity of ebooks. One of the first presentations
on ebooks occurred in 2002 with a session entitled 'Why
you don't want to index ebooks.' Obviously, this was not the
last word on ebook indexing, and interest in this subject has
expanded greatly since 2002.
Other popular indexing specialties included periodicals,
newspapers, law, technical documentation, scholarly mate-
rials, foreign languages, medicine, health sciences, history,
images, and social sciences. Themes covered less often were
aerospace, archaeology, art, biography, botany, children's
books, culinary arts, earth science, environmental science,
fiction, gardening, genealogy, humanities, journalism, library
science, literary criticism, political science, psychology,
public policy, science, sound recordings, terrorism, and
Resources for indexers
The second most popular topic of the conferences was
resources for indexers. This topic was discussed at every
conference from 1997 through 2012, and was represented
in 118 sessions. The most prevalent presentation themes
concerned dedicated indexing software such as CINDEX,
MACREX, and Sky Index. Additional presentations covered
a variety of other software, including Adobe products,
Microsoft Office products, voice recognition software, and
vocabulary management software. Other presentations dealt
with finding information resources to assist in indexing.
Four presentations covered reference sources for indexers,
and 11 presentations concerned effective online searching.
Business aspects of indexing
The third most popular topic concerned business aspects
of freelance indexing. This topic was covered in 111 pres-
entations and was discussed at every conference from 1997
through 2012. The most prevalent subjects in this area were
The Indexer Vol. 30 No. 4 December 2012
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Sassen, Catherine. ASI conference presentations: a content analysis of major topics, 1997-2012, article, December 2012; [Sheffield, United Kingdom]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122177/m1/2/: accessed March 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .