Recap of the Heartland Spring Meeting
By Meridith Murray
The spring 2013 Heartland Chapter meeting was held on Saturday, May 11 at the MCL Restaurant & Bakery on 86th Street in Indianapolis. There were fourteen members in attendance, including three from the Chicago chapter and two “newbies.” We enjoyed meeting Zenia Tatarsky from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, who is in the beginning stages of the ASI indexing course, and Eileen Simon from Dayton, Ohio, who is thinking about getting started in indexing. We hope they were encouraged by our association.
Margie Towery led a productive and informative discussion on the subject of index evaluation. Her presentation is the subject of another article so I won’t go into it here, except to say that I love her terminology. From now on, as I work on indexes, I will take delight in knowing that what I am doing is “clumping, gathering, and scattering”! It was extremely instructive to look at one of Margie’s indexes along with the indexes of others in my group and examine together how they could be improved. We are fortunate to have Margie as a member of our chapter, and we appreciate her willingness to share her experience and expertise with us.
Margie also brought with her examples of recent Wilson Award-winning books for us to peruse and admire. Some of these undertakings are nothing short of amazing. Kate Mertes’ 2013 winner, Mes Pensées, is particularly impressive, containing as it does a full page of prefatory/explanatory notes before the index even gets started. Margie’s two-volume work on Renaissance cartography is simply astounding (it took her three months to create it). These examples serve to remind us that what we are doing is as much art as it is craft, and the best indexes are a happy melding of form and function with some creativity and imagination added in (plus, I suspect, a sprinkling of stardust!)
At our business meeting, we welcomed Sue Klefstad as our new Junior Co-President. Outgoing Senior President Margaret Hentz conducted the business meeting with her usual aplomb. I will have to brush up on Roberts Rules of Order before it is my turn in the fall! We had a brief discussion on the subject of pro bono indexing as a way for new indexers to gain experience and a portfolio of work by completing indexing projects under the guidance of an experienced indexer. The Rocky Mountain chapter is looking into starting such a program, and we decided to let them pilot this endeavor (and work the kinks out of it) before we decide if it is something we would like to do.
At each of our meetings I am reminded of the power of synergy. I am invigorated and encouraged by the opportunity to spend time with others with whom I have so much in common. Indexers have a unique way of looking at the world, and often other people don’t understand or appreciate our craft or our peculiar mindset. We may work alone, but it’s comforting to realize that we are not alone. I hope to see everyone again in the fall. We will probably meet in early October in Richmond (more details forthcoming—thanks, Sue!) Until then, keep calm and carry on! Happy indexing.