Bringing it Home: Notes from the Charleston ASI Conference
By Carol Reed Spring 2014
This year’s national ASI conference in Charleston, South Carolina, was the sixth conference Heartlander Devon Thomas has attended. As always, she enjoyed the time with other indexers and brought home tips, both practical and theoretical, that she can use in her indexing business.
This year, she says, the conference kept her hopping, from the Lee Brothers’ inspiring keynote address—the next time you see Devon, ask her if she’s started writing that cookbook—to meetings, sessions, and fun diversions.
The sessions Devon attended included "Before, During, and After Indexing: Forms, Emails, and Practices," by J. Naomi Linzer; “Our Changing Lexicon,” by Nan Badgett; “Culinary Indexers’ Reference Sources,” by Catherine Sassen; “Jump-Start Your Marketing,” by Kendra Millis; “Indexing Narratives,” by Enid Zafran; and “The Future of MEDLINE Indexing,” by Dorota Ponikiewska. Now that she’s back home, Devon says she’ll apply some of what she’s learned—standardizing forms, using Cindex more efficiently, tweaking her marketing strategy, and approaching her indexing projects with a wider perspective.
During free time, Devon did some sight-seeing around historic Charleston, which is loaded with beautiful old homes, flowers, and gardens. Other highlights: “I ate lots of seafood—shrimp every day, and it was the season for soft-shell crabs! I also went dancing, which is a nice way to meet locals and see a different part of town.”
What keeps her coming back each year? “For me it is a combination of things. One is continuing education. I get so many practical tips from sessions and in talking with other indexers. Even when I disagree with how others index, I feel just having the discussion makes me a better indexer. Another reason is motivation. I find going to a conference makes me feel happy about my work—it's great to be with like-minded people who also get excited about indexing minutiae. I always leave a little mentally depleted from learning so much in a short time, but I am emotionally recharged.”
Devon plans to continue attending the national conferences, and she encourages other indexers to consider next year’s conference a way to invest in your business and yourself.
Editor’s note: Devon is also a newly-elected ASI Director-at-large. Congratulations, Devon! It is great to have a Heartland representative on the ASI Board.