Legal Indexing

A special interest group of the American Society for Indexing

Who We Are

The Legal Indexing Special Interest Group (SIG) of the American Society for Indexing (ASI) is a group of professional indexers with backgrounds and experience in legal subjects. The members of our SIG offer the knowledge and experience you demand in a professional indexer.

What We Can Do For You

Our clients range from small publishers to large multinational companies, legislative bodies, or law firms. Professional legal indexers offer experience in:

  • Subject indexes as well as tables of cases or statutes

  • Legal materials for the general public, textbooks or casebooks for students, and treatises or practice aids for attorneys

  • Back-of-the-book indexes, journal and newsletter indexes, or electronic indexes

  • New indexes or updates of previous editions

  • Complying with publisher style requirements

  • Delivering the index by the deadline in the format requested

Why You Need a Professional Indexer

Indexers with legal knowledge, training, or background produce a high quality index with attention to detail, knowledge of legal concepts and terms of art, and the ability to synthesize complex material. We use dedicated indexing software to meet your needs, follow publisher’s guidelines, provide the index in the format you need, adhere to deadlines, and understand information retrieval principles.

Your readers buy books and other resources that allow them to access the information they seek. An index prepared by an expert increases ease of use by considering the needs of the typical user, and ensures that synonyms, double postings, cross references, and term selection allow your readers to find what they need. Demanding readers will select materials they can easily use, and that requires a solid index. Indeed, a 2008 usability study conducted by Bloomberg BNA compared text searches to using an index and concluded that indexes were both more efficient and more informative.

Working With an Indexer

Many indexers are booked ahead, so it is best to schedule your project in advance. Indexers are happy to discuss a particular project with publishers, packagers or authors. Most indexers will want to see a sample of the material before quoting a price or confirming that they can complete the project on schedule. Things that are helpful for the indexer to know include:

  • Are there select terms that you expect to see in the index?

  • What style guidelines are there such as run-in vs. indented style, number of subheadings, treatment of figures, etc.?

  • Are there length limitations or minimums?

  • Who is the intended audience for the material?

  • What is the density and complexity of the text and the size and deadline for the project?