Meet a Fellow Heartlander: Mary Peterson
By Paula McCoy
Mary Peterson, Treasurer of the Heartland Chapter, has been indexing since 2001. She is a “soon-to-be-retired” librarian at Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She completed her MLIS at Wayne State University. Mary got started with book indexing after taking an indexing class as part of her program with Hermina Angelescu.
Mary has indexed six books and now is waiting to begin an index for a dissertation written by one of Cranbook’s Religion faculty members that is being published as a book. She has also indexed the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science (JELIS), and she is the indexer for the Information & Culture journal for the University of Texas Press.
Mary began taking the ASI indexing course but found she couldn’t complete it due to other commitments. She suggests that others interested in learning indexing take either the new ASI course or the U.C. Berkeley course. Also important, she says, is keeping current through listservs, as well as looking at award-winning indexes. The Spring 2013 Heartland Chapter meeting, at which Margie Towery guided the group through an all-day index exercise, is another example of an excellent way for new indexers to learn a lot about indexing in a short period of time from experienced indexers.
Mary believes that back-of-the-book indexes are here to stay, “although we may see them in different formats.” She thinks the human touch is important, because the human indexer can be more exact than a computer-generated index. “Technology constantly changes all things,” she says, “but this is something I believe will always be a necessity.”
Mary is married and has three grown children. When she retires, she does not plan to cut back on her indexing. Rather, “it’s part of the way I relax, believe it or not.” Many book indexers might agree with that—when they’re not struggling with a time crunch!
© 2013 by Heartland Chapter of ASI. All rights reserved.