Indexer  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotIndexers are the people who read through non-fiction books and catalog keywords alphabetically and by page number. That helps the reader to find the information they need quickly.

"My typical day is wonderful!" says Belle Wong. She is an indexer. "I think it's all bound up with the idea that I'm getting paid to read a book -- to do what I love."

Indexers also have other duties. They enter the index entries into a software program for formatting and edit the index. They also contact the publishing house and sometimes the author that contracted the index.

dotIndexers can work for a publishing company. Or they can be freelancers who work from home. Christine Jacobs is an indexer. She says there are basically two ways of ending up in indexing.

"Through the publishing world -- most people who go that route become back-of-the-book indexers -- and through the library world, where people have a wider range of skills and tend to work with databases and a variety of different materials, as well as book indexing."

dotThe average workday for an indexer is usually about eight to 10 hours long. Sometimes overtime can be expected when a rush project needs to be completed.

Indexers work in offices and usually on computers. Therefore, there is the danger of repetitive stress syndromes such as carpal tunnel syndrome and neck strain.

At a Glance

Come up with a catalog of keywords to help readers find information

  • The average workday is usually about eight to 10 hours long
  • Indexers can work for a publishing company or they can be freelancers working from home
  • Education varies with the type of indexing being done