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Old 27 Aug 2005, 15:47 (Ref:1392530)   #1
Michael Aikey
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Lack of indexes in motorsport books

There has been a scandal perpetrated on the motor sport book reading public for years. The scandal has which has gone on for decades, unfortunately continues today. Major and minor motor sport publishers are involved and beloved authors are in complicity. It appears that over the years the motor sport book reading public, eager to read about a sport we all love, has turned a Nelsonís eye to this festering scandal. What is this scandal that we have endured and few seem willing to discuss Ė the lack of an index in many motor sport books!

In our hunger to read about our favorite marques, the great races of the past and the drivers who have been heroes since childhood, we have in far too many instances willingly purchased only 9tenths of a book. Most nonfiction books on other subjects have an index - that's standard operating proceedure. By most lights an index is an integral part of a nonfiction book. But, for some inexplicable reason, far too many motor sport books have no index. Most of us purchase motor sport books to read for pleasure, however, there are a great number of us who use these works as reference tools. Without an index, the value of a nonfiction book as a reference work is dramatically reduced.

I can understand why Barbara Cartlandís works do not have indexes, but it escapes me why motor sport publishers in the 21st century canít see fit to provide us with an index. Let the word spread, when we plunk down good Pounds, Euros and Dollars for a motor sport book, we should expect, no, we should demand Ė a whole book!

Today I received Maurice Gatsonides' autobiography/biography - no index!! Am I the only soul who finds this a problem?
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Old 28 Aug 2005, 08:15 (Ref:1392843)   #2
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Well, I have just picked a selection of 15 of my more recent motor sport books off the shelves, and 11 have indexes, so you have a point, to a degree, I guess. However, I must admit to not having the strength of feeling you have clearly displayed on the subject!
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Old 28 Aug 2005, 09:20 (Ref:1392862)   #3
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I'm not so concerned about it I admit.......

Although I can understand why you would be.....I think.
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Old 28 Aug 2005, 09:35 (Ref:1392868)   #4
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The lack of an index may be linked to cost savings. I currently work for a book publisher and I know that in many instances they will pay professional indexers to do the work.
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Old 28 Aug 2005, 11:20 (Ref:1392916)   #5
Michael Aikey
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I see the field is mixed. My "passion" for the subject stems from two thing; first, I'm a librarian by training (information is good) and second, books are as much for reasearch as they are for reading pleasure.

I just a quick look at a shelf of motor racing biographies published from 1958 to 2004. Of the 28 volumes on the shelf, only 11 had indexes. A shelf check of military biographies, published from 1952 to 2003, 15 of 16 volumes (military biographies tend to be thicker than racing biographies, hence the different number of volumes per shelf) contained an index. I realize an index is an added expense, however, publishers of other genres seem to feel that an index in a nonfiction book is a normal production cost.

Even books designed to be reference books, such as Prunet, Ferrari: Sport Racing and Prototypes Competition Cars; Pascal' volumes, Porsche and Ferrari at Le Mans; and Finn, Testa Rossa V-12 - no indexes.

Please note, I really don't stay awake at night worrying about this subject; it's just an occasional source of irritation when I am trying to find information in a book that probably has the answer to my question, but unless I take a lot of time rereading - I'm out of luck for the answer.
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Old 28 Aug 2005, 12:18 (Ref:1392937)   #6
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I think the problem comes because the people who write them don't necessarily come from a research background. It takes effort to produce a decent index even nowadays.

I agree there should be a law or something!
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Old 28 Aug 2005, 13:43 (Ref:1392964)   #7
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Moderator. Please change title to "Indices", so we are correct. Thanks
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Old 28 Aug 2005, 14:56 (Ref:1393016)   #8
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[pedant]
Not wanting to turn this into a language discussion (hint) both are acceptable, especially on an international forum: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=indices

Generally in a mathematical sense indices is used and when referring to a alphabetical list or catalogue then indexes is used.
[/pedant]
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Old 28 Aug 2005, 20:59 (Ref:1393258)   #9
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[pedant 2]

Adam, you are right on the international context of "index" and "indice" I believe. Good point on the international aspect of these forums. The language differences can be subtle and tricky.

On the side of the Pond and in Great Britain an "index" is:

"1. an alphabetical list of names, subjects, etc., with references to the places in a book where they occur". Oxford English Dictionary
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Old 28 Aug 2005, 22:33 (Ref:1393313)   #10
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lj79 posted from the UK and indexes is fine anyway
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Old 6 Sep 2005, 10:08 (Ref:1400208)   #11
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Indexing well is expensive. I know -- part of my job for a few years was managing my company's documentation team, and the amount of effort that went into building concordance files, tagging up index entries and handling all the detail of indexing was a significant fraction of the effort in going from 'raw copy' to a finished product -- and that was for relatively short technical material that had a very simple, regular structure. For a long biography with illustrations you're talking about a lot of time and money to do it properly -- and a bad index is worse than no index at all.
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