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Well, I have a suggestion inspired by my former days as a technical services librarian. I suggest you put together what they call a "controlled vocabulary." This is a list of terms that serves as an authority. Anyone constructing an index must used only terms on this list. The list will no-doubt be updated often, but there should be a list in existence at all times. This will prevent 20 different people from using 20 different synonymous terms for the same concept.
One example of a controlled vocabulary that you might want to check out is the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS LIST OF SUBJECT HEADINGS. Many libraries have a copy of the print edition available for reference purposes, although you might have better luck at an academic library. There's also a microfiche edition, which has the advantage of being updated more frequently. Hey, it's probably online by now. If you can find your way into the Cataloging Department of any library, they probably have it -- or another well-known list, Sears-Westby.
From: Kate Robinson [mailto:KRobinson -at- seattle -dot- telecomsys -dot- com]
Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2003 11:29 AM
Subject: Indexing style refs
My new group is setting off into the wilds of indexing, and I hope to develop indexing guidelines for all our docs. Can anybody here recommend good (or warn me away from bad) online or dead-trees indexing style/best practices references?