Indexing: An Essential Art and Science

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 software 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.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Audrey McClellan $525.00 20 Register
Online - - TBD $525.00 25 Register
Online - - TBD $525.00 25 Register

Instructional hours: 15

Schedule clarification: This course begins on the first date listed and ends six days after the last date listed. Between those times, you work at your own pace within the timelines set by the instructor.

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?

Prepare to spend 10 to 15 hours per week on coursework, including:

  • Weekly course modules accessed through Canvas
  • Online course material
  • Forum discussions
  • Independent assignments
  • Demonstrations
  • Exercises
  • Extra reading

Course materials will be available 24/7 and assignment deadlines will be posted well in advance, allowing you to set your own pace for learning.

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.

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

Required text:

The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed, (or later): 2010. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226104201

Note: Courses use the author-date style from the Chicago/Turabian (17th ed.) citation guide.

Once you begin the course you'll be sent SFU library access information for this text. Alternatively, you may wish to download a 30-day free trial of the online Chicago Manual of Style.

We will provide all other course materials online.

Hardware and software requirements

  • CINDEX, MACREX or SKY demo software (available as free downloads during the course)

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 About Online Learning for helpful videos and additional information.