Meet a Fellow Heartlander: Cherry Delaney
By Paula McCoy
Cherry Delaney has just been elected the new secretary for the Heartland Chapter, so it’s a good time for everyone to make her acquaintance. She seems like an experienced, confident indexer, yet she’s really a newbie who really enjoys getting together with fellow indexers. Her path to indexing is both instructive and illustrative of how diverse a group of people indexers are!
Like most book indexers, Cherry has a varied background, which she credits with helping her entry into indexing. Her undergraduate degree is in Foods and Nutrition from Purdue University, which led to her first job as a foods supervisor at Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Home in West Lafayette, Indiana. After a few years off raising her family and doing smocking, Cherry returned to college to take graduate courses in education, instructional design, and curriculum development. She was hired by the instructional area of Purdue’s information technology unit. One of her major tasks was developing manuals for training staff on the Microsoft Office suite. She currently works in the Security and Policy area at Purdue, where her job is to make people more aware of how to behave securely with their computers and mobile devices.
As an instructor, Cherry says she has learned that being concise and specific aids in the quick retrieval of information. In the field of information security, data is critical from both a privacy and security standpoint. Databases are only as good as the information they contain, and that information comes from human entry. That lesson leads naturally to the crux of book indexing: only the best-chosen, concise, accurate terms will aid the seeker.
How did Cherry get started in indexing? In her days of writing computer training manuals, she had done some embedded indexing—without knowing there was software that could do that and probably without knowing there was a name for it! In addition, she had talked to Margie Towery about indexing, and the idea intrigued her more and more as she began thinking about what she could do post-retirement that would keep her active intellectually.
So, without further ado, she jumped right in: Cherry completed the U.C. Berkeley indexing course last November, attended her first Heartland Chapter meeting in Spring 2011, and went to the 2011 ASI National Conference. There she took Seth Maislin’s day-long workshop and other start-up sessions. She definitely has had a busy year—because all of this is on top of her full-time job!
This past January, Cherry created her website using Dreamweaver, hosted through GoDaddy.com. She had her business cards printed through Vistaprint. She also attended Jan Wright’s workshop on InDesign, since she already used this tool. She plans to highlight all her training on her website to help spur some work in this area. Cherry’s experience demonstrates how far someone can go using all the tools offered through membership in ASI, from seminars to formal training to networking and mentorship.
Cherry has benefited greatly from having Margie as a mentor. Since they both live in the Lafayette area, it is easy to get together to go over an index, or to chat on the way to a Heartland meeting. Cherry says Margie has let her sit with her as she indexes—an invaluable experience. Cherry even purchased the same indexing software so that if she had questions, she could count on Margie’s expertise there as well. Cherry comments, “To have a two-time Wilson winner coaching you might be intimidating, but Margie is very approachable and I know I can learn the correct way of indexing from her. She is very patient and helpful in providing insights.” Cherry has also been reading the ASI publication Index It Right, Advice from the Experts, Volume 2, in which Margie is a contributor.
Cherry says she has “way too many interests.” She quilts, gardens, makes precious metal clay jewelry (I’d like to see some of that!), and likes to read. She is secretary of the Friends of the Library board of the Tippecanoe County Public Library for the second year, and writes their quarterly newsletter. She lives in Lafayette with her husband and their six-year-old Wheaton Terrier, Casey, and their twelve-year-old tiger-striped cat, Max, a polydactyl who was rescued as a kitten.
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