That online presence…

I’m back from the ASI 2017 conference–as usual filled with inspiration. I’ve had my duvet day for recuperation from the horrendously early flight that I took from Portland ME to RDU. It was a good conference, I learned a lot, and I had a chance to visit with indexers face-to-face over breakfast, dinner, or just coffee.

One of the particular benefits of this conference for me was discussion of having an online presence. Gwen Henson did a great presentation on “Developing Your Online Presence” that provided insight of how to do that, and tools that help. The presentation “Successful Blogging and Content Creation” by Meghan Brawley sent me home with so many ideas of what and how to improve my blog.

As I start thinking about all those things, it really brought home all the things that you have to do when you’re blogging–things that aren’t immediately obvious–kind of behind the scenes, but very necessary–in addition to creating content for the blog–there’s maintenance to be done. Here are two that came to mind as I was reviewing my blog this morning.

  • Are your links functional? It’s easy to neglect is checking to be sure the links in your previous posts are still functional. If not you should try to re-establish them, find a replacement, or at least acknowledge that the link is not still functional so that you don’t have a frustrated reader trying to use that link.
  • Is the information you presented still appropriate? It’s possible that information presented in that post from three (or more) years ago has changed–new discoveries, new procedures, or changes in best practices. If your professional organization has changed or modified its name, make sure you are up to date in your use. (Perhaps another post on why that change was made?) If that is the case, you need to consider a solution: delete, revise, or at least add a note indicating you are aware of the changes–that might even make a new post (always looking for content).

I’m sure more maintenance tasks will occur to me as I try to be more conscientious in maintaining online presence!


My cat needs me…

I love indexing. I love working free-lance but as with even the best things, there are some “downside” things. One is that freelance indexing can be rather solitary. I appreciate Facebook as it allows me to keep in contact with other indexers in between conferences but nothing compares to meeting the “names and pictures” face to face, hearing indexing spoken, and the learning and new ideas that always come from professional meetings like the American Society for Indexing (ASI) national conferences.

img_20141212_110527255_hdrEven with all those good things, I am always glad to head for home. I have this silly idea that my cat probably needs me (despite most excellent care from a good friend while I’m away) and I’m anticipating seeing what the bees have done while I’ve been away. So I’m glad to be packing up and contemplating my early morning plane ride home.

As usual, I leave the conference with new ideas, new friends, and reconnection with old friends and appreciation of the contributions of other indexers to my development as a professional in the field of indexing. I also leave with a little sadness that I won’t see many of these people for another year. There is the hope that in some way I’ve managed to leave a contribution to the profession and to pay forward some of the benefits that I’ve gained from ASI members.


Portland ME

When I flew out of Durham NC it was 90ºF. When I arrived in Portland ME for the American Society of Indexing conference it was 91ºF on Tuesday. But the weather has improved–it’s now what I expected of Maine.

I was so glad to have some time to act like a tourist before we start the conference–my schedule hasn’t often allowed that. I’ve been out walking around, enjoying the clear, cool weather, and listening to the gulls.

Part of being a tourist was to go to the Portland Art Museum–to spend hours browsing amongst paintings by Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth, Winslow Homer, and a lot of American painters and sculptors with which I was not familiar. I could go back and spend many more hours. It’s well worth the price of admission.

Obviously, I’m a book fan–and there was a book shop with the museum. I couldn’t leave without a souvenir and given my interest in food, it certainly wasn’t possible to pass up a book by Kate Christiansen with the title “How to Cook a Moose”. On the lighter side, I bought a booklet of postcards featuring some of Edward Hopper’s lesser known works–including some land- and seascapes.

Until Sunday, my tourist activity is mostly on hold as we get to work on learning more about indexing.

A little indexing humor….

I think we indexers often need a laugh, so I wanted to share a link that I discovered while doing some research in preparation for an embedded index project that I expect to have later this summer and fall.

On the Leverage Technologies website, while looking up some information on IXMLembedder, under the resources I found a section on Indexing Humor about Indexing & Indexers.

I especially enjoyed the limericks and haiku but got smiles out of a lot of the other things there (in addition to the information I went looking for).

MSA meeting tomorrow!

I’m looking forward to the Mid- and South-Atlantic chapter meeting tomorrow in Alexandria, VA. Carol Roberts is going to be talking about her editing technique.

This should be an interesting discussion. I’m always working to minimize editing because it can be an incredibly time-consuming, but necessary, part of indexing.

My approach to “editing” has been “try to avoid it”. I’ve approached it in several ways:

  • Careful “incremental” editing at the end of each day’s work.
  • I  use SKY Index Pro’s autocomplete to assist in vocabulary control–love it!
  • Careful labeling of entries that need editing as I work–to be reconsidered at the end of the session or when inspiration for the correct phrase occurs later.
  • Frequently working with grouped entries that are quick to run through a spell check.

I’ve upgraded to SKY Index Pro 8 and I think the new layout with the Index Pane right with the data entry pane is going to cut some more time off editing. I’m sure I’ll come home from this meeting with more ways to minimize time spent on editing, too.

Portland ME: restaurants

Not that I’m more interested in food than in the presentations for the ASI conference in Portland ME, but that’s important, too. I found this article in Bon Apetit on where to eat in Portland ME and thought I’d share it. I do intend to eat some lobster and oysters while I’m there!  Links included in the article; however, Scales Restaurant  is mentioned no link is given. Thanks to Google, you can check that one out here


SKY Index Pro 8.0–trial run.

I just finished a pro bono index (a cookbook) using the public preview of SKY Index Pro 8.0 (and downloaded the update that was issued today). As a happy user of SKY Index Pro 7, I’d say that awesome software just got even more awesome. If you are a SKY 7 user, the transition is easy–stuff is where you’ed expect it to be–none of the Windows where-did-they-put-it-this-time hassles. All the keyboard shortcuts that I learned for SKY 7 work as expected.

There are a couple new things that I already like especially well–even though some are not really “big” things:

  • When you shift to a different active window, the data entry grid greys so you can tell easily at a glance which window is active–especially great when you are Alt-tabbing to get back to your data entry grid. This may not be a “big” thing for some, but it is something I really appreciate. This definitely lets you know which window you’re in and saves inadvertently deleting something when you thought you’d shifted windows, but really hadn’t–yes, been there, done that!
  • the new Index Pane–was the Preview Pane–and this is a “big” thing: right beside the data entry grid is wonderful. (I was slow to use the Edit View in SKY 7 for some silly reason–but once I got used to it, I love it. Now it’s even better with it right there on the screen all the time–especially for editing cross-references. I haven’t done much search/browse in the Index Pane yet, but I’m sure I will in other indexing work.I used it more often than had I needed to switch views from data entry to edit view.
  • the Find/Group function (which I use an incredible number of times during work) is faster!
  • Automatic backup with some new features! Yes, yes, thank you!
  • I do like having configuration options and the like open in a pane rather than in dialog boxes seems to eliminate a lot of clicks and keystrokes.

There are features that this particular index didn’t demand that I try out–like the Invert Name, and the Collapse Heading. I’ve been a big fan of the Swap Acronym, create reciprocal cross-reference, and other utilities ever since I started using SKY–and they are all still there.

The message system (now at the bottom of the window) has some customizable features, too. I’m always happy to have SKY tell me when I’ve done something stupid–and let me have it fixed automatically–or tell me to fix it.

Even though I didn’t need it, I left the messages relating to how to use data grid, etc. turned on to see what showed up–I think that would be a huge help to someone learning SKY for the first time. If you’re exploring, then do take the time to watch the tutorial videos. They are explicit, clear, and very helpful.