An index to a non-fiction book is like a map: it informs the reader of what lies ahead and how to get there. This online course is designed for aspiring indexers and for editors who oversee and edit indexes. Through critiques of existing indexes in various documents (non-fiction books, technical manuals, and textbooks), course readings, forum discussions, and sofware demonstrations and practice, you will explore what constitutes a good index and how to create one efficiently. We will also cover the business of indexing, including finding and dealing with clients, networking, and pursuing opportunities for continuing education.
Indexing: An Essential Art and Science
There are no academic prerequisites, but the following abilities are essential:
- Good command of the English language
- Ability to analyse text and extract the essential concepts that the author is trying to convey
- Ability to summarize concepts
- Ability to see relationships between concepts
Instructional hours: 15
Schedule clarification: Online courses begin on the first date listed and end six days after the last date listed. The interim dates/times are not your actual online class times.
What will I learn?
By the end of the course, you will be able to do the following:
- Analyze and evaluate the contents and format of an index.
- Create indexes for non-fiction works as well as technical and other documents.
- Design an index using the indexing function of a word processing software.
- Design an index using dedicated indexing software.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the range of indexing opportunities and professional indexing standards and practices.
How will I learn?
- Online course material
- Forum discussions
- Independent assignments
- Extra reading
How will I be evaluated?
Your grade will be based on the following:
- Assignments (60%)
- Quizzes/tests (30%)
- Online participation (10%)
Textbooks and learning materials
You are responsible for purchasing the text, which is available in print and e-book formats. All other course materials will be provided online.
The Indexing chapter of The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, 2010, University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-2268-36140.
Alternatively, you may wish to download a free trial of the online Chicago Manual of Style.
Hardware and software requirements
- CINDEX, MACREX or SKY demo software (available as free downloads during the course)
- High-speed internet access
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
We deliver this course using SFU's online course management system, Canvas. You will receive course details and Canvas access instructions on the first day of the course. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.
New to online learning? See Online Programs and Courses for helpful videos and additional information.
English language requirements
To succeed in this course, you will need an advanced level of written and spoken English. If you are unsure whether your English language skills are sufficient, we recommend you complete the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with the following minimums:
- Overall band score minimum 6.5
- No band below 6.0
- Writing band score minimum 8.0
Please note we can't refund your registration fees after the course start date if you find your English language skills are not adequate.
If you have questions or concerns about your English language proficiency, we encourage you to contact your local IELTS Test Centre.