Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Acceptance is like the fertile soil that permits a tiny seed to develop into the lovely flower it is capable of becoming.
In 2004, Williams-Sonoma shipped out 56 versions of its flagship Mother's Day catalog, each one just slightly different from the others. Some versions varied the number of products on the cutlery layout or included a letter from the company founder, for example. Others included an index. Then, the company took sales data from each version and analyzed which changes generated the best sales. Among the findings: While most changes didn't make much difference, four did, each by increasing sales in the catalogs by up to 7%. Among the tweaks that boosted performance: adding an index and including a tear-out recipe card.
The Washington Read: Dear Chris, Thanks for the warm inscription in Hardball. I immediately flipped to the index and went through pages 36, 77, 95-96, 202, 206. Having emerged unscathed, I'll now happily read the full book. Thanks and best of luck with Hardball.
It's hard to understand the poor-quality index, glossary, and table of contents that mar the book's value. Navigational aids are just as important in books as they are on Web sites. Using Sun.com as an example, I find a clear set of links on the home page, well-organized site maps and a search function. These tools let me find what I want quickly on this content-rich site.
The single most valuable design feature is a comprehensive index.
Obviously, in doing research I cannot read all of every important book, but I have made myself adept at reading indexes, a skill I recommend to would-be writers; I see in the indexes reminders of topics of which I am interested, but, of equal value, I see notations about ramifications that had not occurred to me.
There is no greater authorial sin than releasing a book without an index. It should even be made an indictable offence.
As I said, an index makes sense of things. Mine does, now. Jowell, Martin: schooldays, see under Bullying; Mother, see under Complicated relationship with; Marriage, see under Misery and Misunderstanding; Happiness in middle years, see under Preston, see under Chesterfield Library, epiphany at, see under Gay, see under joy, see under Relief.
Find out one of these books with an alphabetical index, and without any further ceremony, remove it verbatim into your own ... at least, such a flourishing train of attendants will give your book a fashionable air, and recommend it for sale.
The inclusion of an index is, of course, not enough in itself. It must be a good index.
Professional indexing by a human being has become a quaint concept. At best, you can expect to get full-text searching in an online document, but that's a poor substitute for a real index. More often, though, you get a travesty generated by some half-bright indexing program-or no index at all.
If there is no index, the book is probably not worth reading.
In truth, a very large part of every man's reading falls overboard, and unless he has good indexes he will never find it again.
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.
By far, the index is considered to be the most important software documentation support feature.
The jury in the Whitewater fraud trial went into its 24th hour of deliberation yesterday, sending out a public message of despair and bafflement when they asked the judge for an index to cover 700 exhibits, all complex documents.
Mega biblion, mega kakon
And in such indexes, although small pricks
Recording the first human genetic text, the genome is a little like discovering a copy of life's encyclopedia. But there is no index, no table of contents, no headings, no nothing... In short, there is no efficient way to extract the ocean of information the genome contains. Until it's annotated, it doesn't come close to providing the value that is there.
If I were asked to describe the condition of human knowledge, the image of an army occurs to me an army that has been put to flight or, dispersed and plundering the land, has not retained any semblance of order. Or, to use a more appropriate image: it seems to me that the apparatus of contemporary scholarship is comparable to a very large store which, though it keeps a great variety of goods, yet is totally confused and in disorder, because all items are mixed up, because no numbers or letters of an index are displayed, and because inventories or account ledgers which could throw some light on the matter are missing. The larger the mass of collected things, the less will be their usefulness. Therefore, one should not only strive to assemble new goods from everywhere, but one must endeavor to put in the right order those that one already possesses.
Let us now turn to Kant. It has become a commonplace that he taught the ideality of space and time and that this was a fundamental, if not the most fundamental part of his teaching. Like most of it, it can be neither verified nor falsified, but it does not lost interest on this account (rather it gains; if it could be proved or disproved it would be trivial). The meaning is that, to be spread out in space and to happen in a well-defined temporal order of before and after is not a quality of the world that we perceive, but pertains to the perceiving mind which in its present situation anyhow, cannot help registering anything that is offered to it according to these two card-indexes, space and time. It does not mean that the mind comprehends these order-schemes irrespective of, and before, any experience, but that it cannot help developing them and applying them to experience when this comes along, and particularly that this fact does not prove or suggest space and time to be an order-scheme inherent in that thing-in-itself which, as some believe, causes our experience.
The enormous multiplication of books in every branch of knowledge is one of the greatest evils of this age; since it presents one of the most serious obstacles to the acquisition of correct information, by throwing in the reader's way piles of lumber in which he must painfully grope for the scraps of useful matter, peradventure interspersed.
Hazel Bell's indexes to The Virgin in the Garden and Still Life, though not designed as author's aids, were very helpful for that purpose.
A reference or teaching book is only as good as its index. This one by far the most intelligent in any of my books was prepared by Pat Kelly, one of the founders of The Culinary Historians of Boston.
Tending his grandfather's memory, [Alexander (Sandy) Rower] has discovered his calling. "I feel extremely rich when I have taken a box of papers and classified them," he says. "As a box of papers, they don't exist. As classified documents, they are an extremely valuable resource."
The ocean flows of online information are all streaming together, and the access tools are becoming absolutely critical. If you don't index it, it doesn't exist. It's out there but you can't find it, so it might as well not be there.
The value of information lies in how it is organized. An index adds value that never existed in the original material.
The book is portable, pleasing to hold, has an amazingly simple interface (table of contents, chapters, index), and is easy to access quickly.
The value of any book of nonfiction will be enhanced with a well-prepared index; without one, although the text may contain a wealth of information, the subject matter is largely inaccessible.
Every serious book of nonfiction should have an index if it is to achieve its maximum usefulness.
A book needs a good index for many reasons, not the least of which is that potential purchasers, while browsing in a bookstore, use the table of contents and the index as tools for deciding whether or not to purchase the book.
If a book is valuable, you'll use it in two ways. First, you'll read through it front to back, and during that time, the index will be the last thing on your mind. Once you've completed the book, however, you'll want to refer back to it repeatedly, and when you start to use the book in that way, the index will instantly be promoted to the first rank of relevant features. Bear that in mind when you're looking through a book for the first time. Think of some topics that are important to you, then see if you can find them quickly through the index. Different people think in different ways, so a good index will list a topic under a number of different headings.
Indexes are among those necessary but never spectacular products of hard as well as skilled work that can sometimes make the difference between a book and a good book.
The chief purpose of an index is distillation, and in performing that task it can manage to suggest a life's incongruities with a concision that the most powerful biographical stylist will have trouble matching. The index to My Turn, the story of Nancy Reagan's life, is full of juxtapositions that, as they say, Say It All. "Screen Actors Guild" immediately precedes "SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative)"; Jimmy Stewart is one line above Potter Stewart; the comedian Danny Thomas comes just before the Washington reporter Helen Thomas....
The index for a book is one of the most important features that the book has. As a reader, I find a good index makes using a book a pleasure and a poor index makes finding anything a real chore.
The claim that university presses have abandoned the defining feature of the scholarly book notes, bibliographies and indexes will find little support here. All are indexed, three include bibliographies and half the nonreference books have notes.
As an academic reference librarian who selects reference books, I can tell you the index is definitely [sic] a factor in purchasing decisions. Acquisitions librarians, who select materials for the rest of the library, also look for evidence of a good index, whether an item is individually selected or on an approval plan.
What would be thought of an architect who built a large house and left it without staircases for exploration?
So essential did 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.
John Baynes, like all true lovers of books, dearly loved an index; and the mention of his name in the Quarterly has recalled to my memory the anathema which he pronounced against every author who ventured to publish his book without that, as he considered, indispensable accompaniment. The awful curse pronounced by the Cardinal of Rheims, as recorded by Ingoldsby, and Lord Campbell's well-known denunciation of all such offenders are very merciful, milk-and-water affairs, compared with what John Baynes pronounced and dear old Francis Douce repeated to me in his grand sonorous voice, with an emphasis which almost made me tremble:
Paz's prose is incisive, ... He navigates with ease through intellectual history, pondering Buddhism, Taoism, Gnosticism, and the Bible, Greek and Hellenistic thinkers, and medieval, renaissance and modern artists. In one page he might be commenting on Santa Teresa de Jesus and in the next he is discussing Marquis de Sade, Mumsaid Shikubu, Ramon Lopez Velarde, and John Donne. (An index is urgently needed.)
As you can see, this is a popcorn book, one to be nibbled a bit at a time, and at random. Unfortunately, that's how you have to read it. Strickland has included a table of contents indicating where you'll find quotes on training, the first ride, women in cycling, crashes, etc., but he erred in omitting an index.... Interested in finding all of Ernest Hemingway's quotes? Want to know what the racer Eddie Merckx had to say? You're on your own.
If you don't find it in the index, look very carefully through the entire catalogue.
Besides offering a handy reference, the index is a useful aid for planning remedial and review exercises. When students reveal that they have not yet mastered a particular concept, the instructor, by consulting the index, can guide them to review the appropriate frames.
The secret to this book's success is that it is so well-organized.... The index is long and detailed, but easy to use. Many items are cross-referenced in several locations within the index. This allows readers to find answers fast.
An index a day keeps the telephone calls away.
Rolf's Date: I can read you like an open book.
I hurled the covers onto the floor, put on my slippers, and padded out to the office. I would work on my index, a hideous, thankless task of epic proportions. If I started now, perhaps I'd be done by the turn of the next millenium.
I had a strict rule, which I think secret services follow, too: no piece of information is superior to any other. Poser lies in having them all on file and then finding the connections. There are always connections; you have only to want to find them.
Compiling indexes is the only thing that keeps me sane. Out of chaos, it creates order. There is a certain beauty in it -- sorting out priorities, making connections.
The last thing one discovers in composing a work is what to put first.
Though completeness is an ideal in any index, it is chimerical. Doing an index is a lesson to end all lessons in the vagueness and subjectivity of human categories. I have tried to compensate for inevitable lacunae and subjective mismatches with readers' minds by indexing most major topics in several different ways.
When I tell people that I am working on an index to a book, they tend to hang their heads in sorrow. I tell them that compiling an index for a book is a lot more fun than writing a book could ever be, a relaxing jaunt from A to Z compared with a jerky stop-start trek without maps.
The human brain and eye remain the best instruments for designing index entries and pinpointing references that the index should carry, but the human hand cannot compete with the computer's speed and accuracy in sorting, arranging, and printing out entries.
Indexing is a specialized skill, and deserves respect.
Indexing work is not recommended to those who lack an orderly mind and a capacity for taking pains. A good index is a minor work of art but it is also the product of clear thought and meticulous care.
The labour and patience, the judgement and penetration which are required to make a good index, is only known to those who have gone through this most painful, but least praised part of a publication.
I wonder whether there is any profession in which a knowledge of one's tongue is of the slightest use.
Index-learning turns no student pale,
Sitting down and indexing a book is—in our experience—the most painful, horrible, mind-numbing activity you could ever wish on your worst enemy. And yet, where this is the kind of task that a computer should be great at, it’s actually impossible for a computer to do a good job of indexing a book by itself. A good index requires careful thought, an understanding of the subject matter, and an ability to keep the whole project in your head at all times. In short, it requires comprehension—a quality computer software, at this early stage of its evolution, lacks. Until recently, it also required a large stack of note cards, highlighter pens, Post-It notes, and serious medication.
Information seeking is a very complex human activity, not easily expressed in algorithms or calculations. It is both cumulative and iterative, and needs to take into account such things as the seeker' s level of education, language preferences, and immediate goals. So far, the best interface between a person and information has turned out to be another person - someone who has already studied the topic at hand.
I for my part venerate the inventor of Indexes; and I know not to whom to yield the preference, either to Hippocrates, who was the first great anatomiser of the human body, or to that unknown labourer in literature who first laid open the nerves and arteries of a book.
Few authors, I suspect, are temperamentally capable of making their own index.
For many years Holmes had adapted a system of docketing all paragraphs concerning men and things, so that it was difficult to name a subject or person on which he could not at once furnish information.
Whoever the indexer is, he or she should be intelligent, widely read, and well acquainted with publishing practices also level-headed, patient, scrupulous in handling detail, and analytically minded. This rare bird must while being intelligent, level-headed, patient, accurate, and analytical work at top speed to meet an almost impossible deadline. Less time is available for the preparation of the index than for almost any other step in the bookmaking process. For obvious reasons, most indexes cannot be completed until page proofs are available. Typesetters are anxious for those few final pages of copy; printers want to get the job on the press; binders are waiting; salesmen are clamoring for finished books -- surely you can get that index done over the weekend?
Indexers are in effect trying to provide answers to a host of unasked questions. Indexers therefore need to work as if their audience is present. But there are two snags: first, in most cases they do not know who this audience will be; second, in most cases they do not receive any feedback as to whether their judgments have been successful. From a communicative point of view, there is probably no more isolated intellectual task than indexing. The twilight howl of the indexer might well be, "Is there anybody there?"
Some books live or die by their indexes. An index can be the determining factor in whether a reference book is useful. I have a cookbook that contains great recipes but has an index so eccentric that it is easier to memorize the recipes than to hunt for them. On the other hand, I have just read a long biography packed with detail and possessing a marvelous index that enables the reader to locate any fact or incident with ease. 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. There have been a number of attempts to automate indexing, and there is no doubt that indexes have improved greatly over the last fifty years. However, 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 though to the people who created them. I will appreciate the work of the Unknown Indexer.
Recently, several of us watched Noah [a five-year-old] as he worked on a scary Halloween book. Every time he finished a page, Noah flipped to the back of the book and jotted something onto it. "What are you doing?" we asked, and then Noah showed us what he had written:gosts, p.1He was making an index for his own book to match the one in the back of his reading book.
"Indexers," wrote Mr. [David] Lee, "tend to be able to see something funny in the dullest or grimmest of books, at least ironically funny, for they need something to balance the long hours meticulously poring over the hot text."
Frances had almost forgotten about him. And now his face ... prompted a response that was purely reflexive: positive.... They began to talk about Venice.... And then, the job, and he told her about the progress of his book and his problems with compiling such things as bibliography and index. "I'm a mere journalist," he said. "I've never had to deal with these refinements before."
And above all my thanks go to Mr. Paul Paget for his patient help with the book and index during which process he became my husband.
He writes indexes to perfection.
Good indexers are amazing human beings, with intellectual wiring quite different from a good writer's. Their craft has an entire philosophy behind it, in many ways very close to math. I occasionally see posts from their mailing list (forwarded from our staff indexer) and I'm impressed with the complexity of their tasks and the level of thought they bring to their jobs. (Indexers also bring a reader-centered view to the use of the index, where a writer's indexing often follows the organization of the book.)
I was walloped by the mighty mackerel of memory.
See also Anna Potter's "Selected Entries from the Index of The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, by Oliver Wendell Holmes
I had almost decided to save nothing for myself, when a book still standing on the half-emptied shelf caught my eye. I had never read it, had never done more than glance through its thousand pages, but suddenly I knew it was the third book I would take. I lifted it down, traced its title with my finger: Index: A-Z.
"Why aren't breasts a subject?" the woman to my left complained one evening, looking up from a Charles Bukowski volume... "Or asses," she continued. All of our conversations started this way.
An inquiry at the statehouse information service directed Kim to the Massachusetts State Archives.... but ... not all the seventeenth-century petitions survived, and those that did are not all properly indexed or catalogued.... and ... there was a big fire at Harvard in 1764 that destroyed the library and consumed a collection they called 'the repository of curiosities.' To make matters worse, they lost the index as well, so at this point no one knows what the collection contained.
I didn't read the script, but my people say it's a real headtwister. It's the first one they've seen with an index.
As for the life of "Aamons, Mona," the index itself gave a jangling, surrealistic picture of the many conflicting forces that had been brought to bear on her and of her dismayed reactions to them.
"... Here's the Golden Archway into Indexing. The Land of Subtle Conceptual Connections."
One of the funniest jokes in Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years Of Playboy Cartoons (Fantagraphics)—a massive, three-volume, nearly thousand-page collection—comes at the end. The “Index Of Abhorations” lists occurrences of everything from “bear” (one) to “Y2K” (two). Most subjects only make a handful of appearances until “Alien(s),” “Monsters(s),” “Chaos and destruction,” and “Gigantic,” all of which dwarf the topics around them. (“Demented Santa” makes a lot of appearances, too.)
The essence of the freelance life is freedom. Idleness is part of freedom and shouldn't alarm you: you will find soon enough that you have more than enough on your plate. Relish these periods of rest. To be a freelance it is also necessary to believe, to know, to know profoundly, that one is going to be all right however unlikely it seems at any particular distressing moment. This faith your friends cannot give you: it is something you have to discover in yourself.
the nonstriking self-employed
My main reason for adopting literature as a profession was that, as the author is never seen by his clients, he need not dress respectably.
Free-lancing is like playing sandlot second base -- the ball takes some awful hops.
Deadline: (a limiting line, mark, or time) was coined during the Civil War, in the notorious Confederate POW camp Andersonville. The earliest known written instance of the word occurs in an 1864 report by Colonel D.T. Chandler: The Federal prisoners of war are confined within a stockade fifteen feet high ... A railing around the inside of the stockade, and about twenty feet from it, constitutes the "dead line," beyond which the prisoners are not allowed to pass (read into the Congressional Record, 1876). If a prisoner crossed the line, he was summarily shot. After the war, the dead-line survived in the South as jargon in games of marbles, referring to a line drawn near the ring. If on the first shot a player's shooter fell short of the line, he was dead and had to drop out of the game. In the West, cattle ranchers used a dead line to indicate the point beyond which sheep farmers were not to go on pain of being "dry gulched" that is, killed. From a physical line not to be crossed, deadline evolved into a point in time after which newspaper or magazine copy would not be accepted for inclusion in a particular issue.
The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.
Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
Everything has already been said but, since no one pays attention, it has to be repeated each morning.
It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.
She had a pretty gift for quotation, which is a serviceable substitute for wit.
I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.
An old saw about the Middle East has it that "the Egyptians write, the Lebanese publish and the Iraqis read."
[H]ere is the bad news about Ms. Wyman: If you cross her, watch out. That smiley face of hers’ll fall off like a mask that’s popped its elastic, and underneath is a dragon lady. And that Ms. Wyman, I swear, wouldn’t blink at removing your liver with her bare hands and eating it with a spoon.
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