Q: I am retiring this year after 30 years as a librarian and wish to provide indexing and abstracting from my home. Do you have any suggestions of publishing companies who may wish to employ someone for this task?
SM: Indexing and abstracting are essential services for libraries and researchers. Although some indexing is done electronically, much is still done by actual people – often by library professionals. Keep in mind that indexing now involves more than just publishing houses and books. Web indexing, for example, “includes back-of-book-style indexes to individual web sites or an Intranet, and the creation of keyword metadata to provide a more useful vocabulary for Internet or onsite search engines” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_indexing). When you look for indexing jobs, don’t rule out these non-traditional roles.
To begin with, you should look into one or more indexing and abstracting associations. The American Society of Indexers (ASI) is a great place to start. Their site contains information on becoming an indexer, taking classes, getting certified, looking for jobs, pricing your services, and much more. Joining an association is also one of the best ways to network with colleagues. When you are looking for jobs, keep in mind that publishers and database companies (e.g., H.W. Wilson, EBSCO) will advertise indexing/abstracting jobs in the usual places: newspapers, corporate sites, association sites, and library job sites. Check job descriptions or contact companies to see what they require and if working from home is an option.
Best of luck in your new adventure! You are proof that librarianship is more than just a job.
Other Useful Sites:
Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP)
Independent Librarian’s Exchange Section of ALA
Indexing and Abstracting Society of Canada
The Library Co-op, Inc.
NFAIS (National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services)
The Society of Indexers (Britain and Ireland)
Web Indexing SIG