13.1 Index Style
13.2 Features of Indexes
13.3 Periodical Indexing
Indexes are essential and highly valued components of medical textbooks and journals. Publishers should hire professional indexers conversant with medical terminology and allot sufficient time in the production schedule for a comprehensive index to be prepared. “Space limitations on indexes should not apply to medical books.”1(pviii) Medical indexes should aim for “accuracy, thorough analysis (subheads and cross-references), completeness/comprehensiveness [and] usability.”1(p27) A textbook index should “tie together” discussions throughout of the same or related subject, eg, an infectious disease and its pathogen.2(p62)
General references on indexing include Indexing Books,3 the indexing chapter in The Chicago Manual of Style,4 and Indexing From A to Z,5 which includes a section on biomedical indexing. The American Society of Indexers website provides indexing resources.6 Patton and Wyman’s online guide includes information specific to biomedical indexing.7 Biomedical indexing is covered in Indexing Specialties: Medicine1 and Indexing the Medical Sciences.8
The following are some considerations specific to medical indexing.