A Letter from the President
By Sue Klefstad
Hello, team Heartland! Let’s give a big round of applause and a standing Thank You to Carol Reed for assuming the Heartland Co-President position, to Devon Thomas for stepping into the Secretary position, and to Mary Peterson for maintaining her Treasurer position. Thank you!
And while we’re standing and applauding, let’s give a big Thank You to outgoing chapter President Meridith Murray! As a two-term Co-President, Meridith fed our indexer brains with delightful workshop morsels—both programs and tasty treats.
I hope they are all experiencing the happy indexing success that I have found in the past year of serving as a chapter officer.
Thank you to Laura Ewald for taking over the newsletter production. She’s aiding our team learning by helping us keep in touch.
Also, a big Thank You to all you Heartlanders who voted in the election. You made it real.
Our Spring 2014 meeting approached one of the banes of our indexing profession: lack of feedback. As you’ll read in this issue, we can learn from index usability tests, in which index users are observed using indexes. Wouldn’t it be nice to have such direct feedback on our own indexes?
I do not want to diminish the value of peer review of indexes; they’re extremely valuable! But the vast majority of peer reviews are conducted without the actual text in hand. The Institute for Certified Indexers, which offers experienced indexer review, requires submission of the text indexed. The ASI/EIS Award (formerly the ASI/H.W. Wilson Award) also requires submission of the text. An index doesn’t stand alone.
What sort of feedback have you been fortunate enough to receive? I am always pleased when a client expresses happiness with my index. But my clients are authors and editors; I have never heard from an actual index user. User comments would be worth their weight in gold. I was interested to learn that the Pacific Northwest Chapter of ASI has been studying index usability since 2002, receiving comments from actual index users.
Are there any ways for indexers to increase our feedback? To learn if our indexes are actually usable?
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