A common question is, what is indexing? Indexing means reading a book, analyzing it, and writing a site map to the content. The site map is the index that appears at the back of the book.
This business started out as a writing and editing business. Hence the name. It is now almost totally indexing, but I have retained the name—which is trademarked.
The turn to indexing was serendipitous. Besides being a writer and editor, I had been a librarian in university and special libraries, and I had done a considerable amount of medical reference work. My MLS is from the University of Washington, and I had also taken an extension course in indexing from the University of Washington—but I had never worked as an indexer.
In 1999, Microsoft hired me to help index Encarta products. The manager liked my work experience as a librarian. It was a short-term contract job—but long enough for me to discover that I like indexing. After the job ended, I continued indexing—as a freelancer. In 2006, Microsoft again hired me, this time to index Speech Server files. When this short job finished, I returned to freelance indexing.
One of my strengths is usability. When I was working as a writer and editor in engineering and medical settings, I had to know usability—very well. I brought that knowledge into indexing. This year I published a paper that broke new ground in usability in the field of indexing:
“Structuring book indexes to meet the needs of users.” The Indexer, June 2023.
Another strength is broad travel experience. At one point, I spent an academic year as a budget traveler in the developing world. I have also taken shorter trips—a few weeks—to Mexico and parts of Europe.
Some of my experience has been captured by the article published in the bulletin of the Indexing Society of Canada.
“Focus on Judi Gibbs.” Indexing Society of Canada, Bulletin, Volume 45, Number 1, Spring 2023. Reprinted with permission from the Indexing Society of Canada.