Every serious book of non-fiction should have an index if it is to achieve its maximum usefulness. — The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th Edition
All nonfiction books should have an index to enable readers to find information quickly and easily. Indexes are tools of accessibility. If they are poorly made and cannot do the job for which they are intended, they frustrate the readers. Simply put, a bad index diminishes a book. Even those publishing houses that require authors to provide their own indexes recognize that the majority of them lack the objectivity, the training and the time essential for this vital task. — Barbara Horn, The Effective Editor’s Handbook (1997)
Some books live or die by their indexes. An index can be the determining factor in whether a reference book is useful … The Anglo-American tradition of serious writing and publishing calls for an extensive “scholarly apparatus” (indexes, footnotes, citations, and bibliographies) and it is always a shock to read continental European, especially French, books that lack footnotes or indexes … Indexing cannot be mechanized and its largely anonymous practitioners need much flair and intuition to accompany the automated approach. Pity the poor indexer! Most readers take good indexes for granted and curse bad ones and, in either event, give little thought to the people who created them. — Michael Gorman, Our singular strengths: meditations for librarians (1998)
A book is more usable and more marketable if it is well indexed. “A good indexer,” says The New York Public Library Writer’s Guide to Style and Usage, “like a good editor, serves as the reader’s advocate, making the author’s work accessible and comprehensible.” — L.F. Radke, The Economical Guide to Self-Publishing (1996)
So essential do I consider an Index to be to every book, that I proposed to bring a Bill into Parliament to deprive an author who publishes a book without an Index of the privilege of copyright; and, moreover, to subject him, for his offence, to a pecuniary penalty. — Baron Campbell (Scottish lawyer and politician; Lord Chancellor, 1859), Lives of the Chief Justices, Preface to Vol III
A full index is added, without which no publication beyond the size of a pamphlet can be deemed compleat. — John Noorthouck, Preface to Grand Lodge Book of Constitutions (1784)
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