Camden House Indexing Guidelines

This guide is intended primarily for authors who, for the first time, need to index their own work; it also includes information on how indexes should be formatted and submitted to Camden House. Feel free to contact Camden House if you have any questions or need assistance.

Download PDF of Indexing Guidelines

Our author guidelines are available as a separate guide on our website.

Content and Structure

  • Include only substantives as index entries: nouns and names.
  • Capitalize only the entries that would be capitalized in the text of your book. So you should type in an entry as “authenticity of texts,” not “Authenticity of texts,” for instance.
  • You should include in your index not only names and works but also important concepts—such as literary movements and schools—and historical events. In other words, the index should not be just a list of names.We feel strongly about this, as did some reviewers of some of our books long ago when we allowed indexes to include only names.
  • Names of all critics mentioned in the text should be indexed, but it is usually not necessary to list their works as entries.
  • In listing primary works, multiple works by a single author are best listed under the author’s name, followed by the words “works by” and the titles in alphabetical order. For instance (using an example from another book’s index): Borchert,Wolfgang, works by: Draussen vor der Tür, 3, 24; Granvella, 42 etc.
  • As for index references for major authors in your book as persons or figures, apart from their works, you can decide whether to include them. They would come under the author’s name, and before any works by that figure that are listed. But if they are included, they should be carefully limited and specified by the use of subcategories (youth of, education of, aesthetic views of, etc.); otherwise you would end up referencing under almost every page of the section of the book that deals with the author, and that would be both meaningless and silly. An entry forWolfgang Borchert in the index cited in the previous example might then read: Borchert,Wolfgang, childhood experiences of, 2-3, 6; education of, 11, 12, 14-15; wartime experiences of, 34-36, 52-53. Again, this would precede the entry for works by Borchert.
  • Please do not employ the abbreviations f. and ff. in your index (used to mean “and the next page” and “and the following pages”). Please give the ending page in the range, e.g. 25–26 or 26–30. See the Camden House style sheet or Chicago Manual of Style for rules on which digits can be dropped in such page ranges. 8)
  • There are of course many ways to structure an index, and you may feel free to use your own method (as long as it is logical and consistent) or to consult any recent, well-organized index in a scholarly book for other solutions. The only hard-and-fast rules beyond including concepts are that your index should be well-organized, reader-friendly, and, of course, accurate. The Chicago Manual of Style has an excellent if very detailed chapter on indexing.


  • Do not use any extra spaces, tabs, or other special formatting. That is, use a standard onecolumn page format with the normal Camden House 1.6″ margins, no indents, hanging or otherwise, no tabs, and use only the spaces normally considered necessary to separate words and for normal punctuation: our formatter will take care of the layout of the index in two columns with hanging indents, etc.
  • Each entry is best left as a single paragraph. Sub-entries, if present, can be indicated to our formatter by the use of semi-colons: one semi-colon before each subentry. An example of what we want follows:

Runckel, Dorothea Henriette von, 21, 24, 108, 211; annotations by (to Gottsched’s letters), 42, 57, 58, 59, 60, 63, 65; correspondence with Johann Christoph Gottsched, 12, 20, 105, 165-67, 169, 177-78, 183-84, 188-89; correspondence with Luise Gottsched, 26, 155-80; as editor of Gottsched’s letters, 13-16, 25, 26, 30-36, 40, 41, 52, 53, 56-60, 63, 155, 163-64, 170-71, 193

Runckel, Dorothea Henriette von, works by: Briefe der Frau Louise Adelgunde Victorie Gottsched (editor), 17; Moral für Frauenzimmer, 179, 211; Sammlung freundschaftlicher Originalbriefe, 179, 211

We will then format this as follows, with hanging indents and in double columns:

Runckel, Dorothea Henriette von, 21,
24, 108, 211; annotations by (to
Gottsched’s letters), 42, 57, 58, 59, 60,
63, 65; correspondence with Johann
Christoph Gottsched, 12, 20, 105, 165-
67, 169, 177-78, 183-84, 188-89;
correspondence with Luise Gottsched,
26, 155-80; as editor of Gottsched’s
 letters, 13-16, 25, 26, 30-36, 40, 41, 52,
53, 56-60, 63, 155, 163-64, 170-71, 193
Runckel, Dorothea Henriette von, works
by: Briefe der Frau Louise Adelgunde
Victorie Gottsched (editor), 17; Moral für
Frauenzimmer, 179, 211; Sammlung
freundschaftlicher Originalbriefe, 179, 211

The only exception to the “no special formatting” rule is that you should leave one blank line after the last entry for each letter of the alphabet.

Method of Indexing (i.e. setting page references)

As far as the physical process of doing the index, that is, determining the page numbers (aka “locators”) for each entry, we recommend using one of the two variations on the time-honored manual method (1 and 2), or using Adobe Acrobat to assist (3):

  1. If you have another person who is willing to help, that makes the process easier: One person reads through the hard copy and calls out any terms that are in the list of items to index (which is of course determined prior to this process), and the page number, while the other person enters the page numbers into the index, either using a pen and hard copy or using a computer.
  2. If you do not have a second person to help, one way to accomplish the task is to highlight (with a transparent highlighting pen) the terms that must be referenced in the index when doing the last proofing. This makes it very easy to go back through the proofs and enter the page numbers into your index.
  3. If you have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, it is possible to use this program to search for words and phrases as they occur in your proofs, and to tally the page numbers as you go. If you wish to make use of this option, please make sure to request a copy of the proofs in Acrobat.

Spelling Check

Please be sure to run a spelling check of the index as your last step before saving the file for the last time and sending it back to us. The spell checker will stop on many personal names, and you, as the expert on the names in your book, will be able to do a much better job than we in checking them.