ASI conference presentations: a content analysis of major topics, 1997-2012 Page: 203
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Sassen: ASI conference presentations
client culture (concerning relations with editors, authors,
and publishers), project management, starting an indexing
business, marketing, and finances. Subjects discussed less
often included office organization, record keeping, working
on the road, and working with other indexers.
Indexing techniques and methods
Techniques and methods of indexing were addressed in
97 presentations, and were covered in all 16 conferences.
Each conference included at least one instructional session
on basic indexing techniques. Other popular themes
included index editing, name indexing, term selection, and
techniques for productive indexing. Subjects covered less
often included acronyms, character sets, cross-references,
exhaustivity, index style guides, note indexing, secondary
indexing, subheadings, and the visual appeal of indexes.
Activities related to indexing
Activities related to indexing were discussed in 38 presen-
tations, and were addressed in 15 of the 16 conferences in
the study. The most popular subjects by far concerned the
creation of thesauri, controlled vocabularies, and taxon-
omies. Other subjects included abstracting, information
architecture, metadata, self-publishing, and the teaching
of indexing. Presentations in this category have been more
popular since 2003, reflecting developments in digital
information retrieval that offer new opportunities for
Professional and career issues were the focus of 27 presenta-
tions. This topic was covered at 13 of the 16 conferences in
the study. The most popular subject in this area was training
in indexing, with a recent emphasis on the ASI training
course. Other themes in this area included the certification
of indexers, continuing education, ethics, and the activities
of indexing societies in other countries.
Evaluation of indexes
Twenty-two presentations dealt with the evaluation of
indexes. This topic was covered at 13 of the 16 confer-
ences studied. The most popular theme was index usability.
Other sessions dealt with index evaluation in general, peer
reviewing, and judging indexes for the Wilson Award.
Eight presentations concerned the topic of personal devel-
opment. A recent trend began in 2007 with presentations
on physical exercise. Sessions have covered physical fitness,
stretching, yoga, and stress management. Other sessions in
this category concerned osteoporosis treatment, preven-
tion of Alzheimer's disease, work-family balance, and
psychological aspects of indexing.
This analysis of ASI conference presentations has revealed
major issues as well as trends in indexing. Trends have
reflected developments in information technology, the
publishing industry, and the profession. Presentations on
indexing specialties have encompassed new electronic
formats as they were adopted by the publishing industry.
Presentations on resources for indexers have provided a
wealth of information about advances in indexing tech-
nology. Presentations on activities and skills related to
indexing have included developments in digital information
retrieval that offer new opportunities for indexers.
Considering the depth and breadth of conference offer-
ings, it is clear that ASI conference planners and presenters
have demonstrated a firm commitment to supporting prac-
titioners at all levels. They have placed an emphasis on
looking forward, embracing new technologies and adapting
to change in the profession. As Dorothy Thomas (1989:
125-6) noted, these efforts have enabled ASI 'to prosper
and to make a continuing contribution to the publishing
industry and the world of information.'
American Society for Indexing (2012) 'Mission statement.'
Available from: www.asindexi ng.org/i 4a/pages/i ndex.
cfm?pagei d=3315_(accessed 4 August 2012).
American Society for Indexing (2012) 'Preliminary
program: Index appreciation days, 2012 Annual
Conference.' Available from: www.resourcenter.net/images/
ASI/Files/2012/2012ASIPrelimPrg.pdf (accessed 4 August
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Catherine Sassen is principal catalog librarian at the University of
North Texas. Email: Catherine. Sassen@unt.edu
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/m1/3/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .