The Indexer: The International Journal of Indexing

Subheadings in award-winning book indexes: a quantitative evaluation

The Indexer: The International Journal of Indexing (1990), 17, (1), 3–6.

Abstract

The subheadings in four indexes, winners of the Wheatley Medal, were analyzed in an attempt to quantify those characteristics of subheadings that make good indexes. This analysis indicated that there arc significant quantitative differences between award-winning and ordinary indexes, though the characteristics of award-winning indexes vary with the nature of the text. Award-winning indexes to historical narratives were found to have subheadings about 5 words in length; most of these subheadings began with a significant word, cither a noun or a verb; most were not related syntactically to their main headings; and only about 20% matched the words of the text. These characteristics were not shared by ordinary indexes.

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Author details

Wittmann, Cecelia