Meet a Fellow Indexer: Lisa Ryan
By Roseann Biederman
When Lisa isn’t indexing and abstracting books, she’s writing them. Since earning a bachelor’s degree in English, followed by master’s degrees in Writing and Publishing as well as Library Science, she has worked as a reporter, researcher, indexer, and abstracter—all while finding time to write novels and screenplays. In addition to running Stellar Searches LLC, “I have written two young adult novels and three screenplays, and I am working to get these published or produced,” she says.
Lisa began her career as a journalist, and credits her mother for the inspiration to change careers. “I worked as a newspaper reporter in my hometown of Staunton, Virginia, covering crime and courts before deciding to go back for a library science degree,” she says. “My biggest influence was my mother, who was a middle school librarian before retiring.”
While at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Lisa landed an internship with the U.S. Environmental Agency, and a position as an Information Professional at the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) in Raleigh. “With additional experience I gained in writing abstracts for the Environmental Research-in-Progress database at CTE, I was able to branch out into indexing,” she says.
After earning her degree, Lisa worked in Washington, D.C., as an indexer/abstracter for the National Association of Home Builders, and then as an indexer for the U.S. Department of Transportation. She founded and developed Stellar Searches LLC in 2007, focusing on researching and online searches, and then expanded into indexing and abstracting. She joined ASI shortly thereafter.
Lisa focuses on back-of-the-book, periodical, newspaper, and database indexing, and her specialties include science and technology, social science, education, and scholarly works, but she is open to indexing a variety of topics. “I particularly find art history interesting,” she says. “One book I indexed, Science and Art, was truly fascinating, as it explored the great masterpieces of art using obscure scientific techniques. I also learned much about LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, by indexing a series of green building books.”
While her favorite part of indexing is learning about new subjects, Lisa admits that the most challenging aspect of the job is finding new clients. To that end, she utilizes the ASI and Heartland Chapter websites, including the ASI Indexer Locator. “I find the newsletters and discussion lists to be useful resources and networking tools. I’m also a member of the Periodical/Database Indexing Special Interest Group, and monitor the Indexers Discussion List and INDEX-L,” she says.
Lisa lives with her husband, Stephen, near Lexington, Kentucky—“in bluegrass country. We enjoy going to horse races at Keeneland,” she says. In addition to creative writing, she spends her free time drawing, watercolor and oil painting, and gardening. For more information, contact Lisa at www.stellarsearches.com.
© 2015 by Heartland Chapter of ASI. All rights reserved.