ASI Conference Highlights
By Margie Towery
The initial hot topic at the 2013 ASI Conference in San Antonio was the American Airlines computer glitch on Tuesday before the conference, which impacted several of the attendees’ arrivals in San Antonio. The conference itself started off with a plenary session by Judith Pascoe, an English professor at the University of Iowa. Judith caught indexers’ attention when she blogged about indexing on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s website. Her presentation was an expansion of that post. I was delighted because she reminded us of Barbara Pym’s fiction about indexers and editors. She spoke particularly about No Fond Return of Love, which I downloaded and started reading on the trip. Joshua Tallent, who also spoke at the 2011 conference, followed her and updated us on what has been happening in the e-book realm.
The session most useful to me as a scholarly indexer was Kate Mertes’s talk on historical documents. She (and the audience) discussed issues particular to indexing primary documents (letters, journals, diaries, classic reprints, etc.). Those issues include names, terminology and synonyms, modern user expectations, and reflexivity. Kate also won the Wilson Award this year (and I’ll bring her winning book to the meeting on May 11).
The second day’s plenary session had the audience laughing but was nonetheless thought-provoking. Corey Pressman threw out a lot of terminology, including “information curators,” that is, indexers are curators of the aboutness of the texts/objects. He showed examples of “post-book objects” (e.g., apps and e-books with embedded videos). Corey emphasized that humans are at the very beginning of this transformation in information and how it’s presented. We as indexers must be at the core of this revolution.
Jan Wright received the Hines Award, not the least for her work on the DTTF. Her acceptance speech provided an inside look at the committee’s operations and relationships and more information about writing e-book indexes. Overall, this conference, like last year’s, focused on e-books, providing current ideas, EPUB 3 updates, and related ideas. Index
© 2013 by Heartland Chapter of ASI. All rights reserved.
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