Indices Unlimited

Indexing Services

Robin B. James, MLS
(412) 668-6240

An index increases the value of your book. I can make you a fantastic index for your soon-to-be-published book, and do it in such a way that it increases your access to researchers.

A comprehensive index has quite a bit of thought involved, interpreting the meaning of words, adding value, clarification, and showing conceptual associations.

What if your book has already been published but has no index? This is the place to do something about that. Your back catalog of non-fiction titles will benefit by having an index retro-fit and posted online. There are new researchers every day, seeking more information, for example, genealogical researchers, carefully typing their list of family names into their favorite search engine. By using this simple internet strategy you can better reach them. Your previously published book can be retrofitted with a functional index and your promotional efforts can benefit by way of an online presence.


PREMISE ONE: Pagination. The pages have been broken, the tumble has finished, and the flow is fixed. This means that the big-picture or conceptual editing and creative phase is over and the page numbers are not going to change. If the numbers change after the index is made, we have problems. There are solutions, but its just far better to complete the index AFTER the pages have been established. I have done retrofitting, after the editor had a big new idea, it takes time. Working with a previously published title works perfectly.

During the indexing process typos are often discovered. I will alert you to them and you can decide what to do about it. I will confirm spellings with you, especially unusual smellings. Spell checkers wont catch wrong words that are spelled correctly.

I love to work with printed pages, but its also very easy to use a PDF version of your magnum opus. Most people send me PDF documents. Save our trees.

My job is to make it easy for a researcher to get right to each morsel that they want. Then they tell everyone how great your book is and bingo! Everyone wants a copy!


It is very difficult to take a stack of papers and figure out how long its going to take to process them. Some of the variables are the content and nature of the text, the density or number of names or elements to be identified, and more important, when the publisher wants to get it to press. An autobiography is going to have more context for names, a travel book is all about geographical information, history books also are full of names. Sometimes the final product just wont fit into the designated last few pages and there is no more room, so drastic thinning must occur.

Rather than bother with all that, my approach has been to offer a flat fee for the project, and to sweeten the deal, to include a round of revisions so that everyone is happy with the final product.

I always thrill at a little credit in print, spelled right, because I want to show it off as I build my legendary empire.


If all you want is the content and you do the final formatting, that is the cheapest rate. In this example (illustrated below) there are two TAB spaces separating the term from the page number, the designer would decide the font and how it will look, usually with the little dots between term and page number.

If you have a template I can break the columns with subject headers and sections, fitting it all into proper form, but it will cost just a little bit more.

If you want the full internet treatment (the example here is Frank Passic's book Albion In Review), which consists of one long web page with links providing formatted versions for convenient downloading in Word, OpenOffice Writer, RTF, or PDF or any combination, that can happen too.

Internet strategies

Putting your index on the internet allows search engines to find all of the names and businesses listed in your book without giving away the contents. That way each person that is listed who searches for themselves will find the index and not only want to get a copy of your book for themselves, all of their classmates and grandchildren will thus be charmed into buying several copies of their own as well.

Putting the index online saves you paper and allows for an expansive and detailed promotional product.

You can offer your readers options. They can just look at the index as a web page, they can download a text version, they can download a large print version and the reader can either print out their own version that they can mark up, if they want to.

Formats and Standards

Your book has a basic format, perhaps the title or chapter name is at the top of each page, the text is displayed within uniform margins, and at the bottom of each page are the page numbers. Simple. The index usually has the same look and feel as the rest of the book, but it probably has smaller text and has three columns with little dots flowing between the citation term and the page number or page numbers.

If you have a formatted template, I can place the information therein, breaking the columns and making column headers, divide it into sections (A, B, C etc.) and install some fancy navigational stuff. If you are doing all that final formatting, I can provide the raw index at the cheapest cost and you can take it from there.


In the old days we used diskettes or CDs but now we can use email or post a portable memory device in the mail.

Selected Showcase:

The software manuals I worked on are all proprietary so I cannot show you anything. I also worked on the automated help systems.

Aldus PageMaker, Aldus Fetch, Aldus FreeHand, Microsoft Excel 4, Microsoft FoxPro, Microsoft Project, Microsoft Key (which became Access), and Winfo.


Hunt's Highlights of Michigan

ISBN-10 0962349980, ISBN-13 978-962349980

I love indexing travel books! This was a great pleasure to work on. Thank you Mary Hunt for this opportunity.


This is my most recent and big deal work:

Union Jack was written by Christopher Sandford and published by ForeEdge ISBN 978-1-61158-852-8

I also indexed a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for Christopher Sandford.

I began working with Frank Passic in 2000, he has been writing weekly newspaper articles about Albion History for many years (since 1976). He has a website (Thanks to Maggie LaNoue!) that displays much of his fine work. He is also a numismatic enthusiast, he is of Lithuanian ancestory, a genealogist, and an employee of the US Census, which all gets combined in interesting ways. Click on his name on the Albion, Michigan (our home town) website:

Click on the book cover art to view the promotional page containing the indices.

Growing Up In Albion, written and published by Frank Passic (2007)


Schuylkill Stories by Ione Geier. This was also a great pleasure to work on, spanning the troubling times leading up to the second great world war onward to the new century, including the tumultuous transformations within Schuylkill county and the entire world, through the articulate eyes of a pioneering newspaper reporter. Here is the FaceBook link for promoting the book.

Other Services:

Proofreading, editing, getting your manuscript from keystroke to printer. After that, you get it printed and have piles of boxes of books, then you schedule your promotional tours and have endless book signings where you sell them like hotcakes (or whatever you can manage).

Here is my first published project, it took five years to assemble and two years for Autonomedia make it into a book:

In 1992 the Cassette Mythos was published by Autonomedia (ISBN # 978-0936756691)

Cassette Mythos [Paperback] Robin James (Editor), Dave Mandl (Editor), Neil Strauss (Editor), Sue Ann Harkey (Designer)

Essays, stories, and manifestos from the real musical underground. The cassette is an egalitarian communication tool that has given many the power to produce and distribute their own music and aural communiques from the fringe. Intimate and impenetrable, always in their own style and for their own purposes, free of the mediated nets of cash and commerce. Works by Chadbourne, Gunderloy, Cutler, Margolis and others.

This is a celebration of electronic folk arts from the 1980s, with a focus on audio arts.

This promotional page was once again improved and then released onto the world on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 5:43 PM