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Perth DPS Book Indexes

Western Australian Histories & Biographies
For Genealogists and Family Historians


IT'S IMPERATIVE TO CHECK with Christine Uphill before beginning an index as it would be TRAGIC if someone else was already on the job!!!

If you prepare an index from a book or other source some suggested Guidelines follow ...

1. State:

  • the name of the Book or article from which the index was derived;
  • the author's name;
  • the Publisher's Details and year of publication;
  • the book's ISBN number, if applicable; and
  • the Edition, if applicable (this is important since, for example, if the book you are indexing is the paperback version of a book also published in hardcover, the page numbers will vary considerably, so state whether the book is a paperback, facsimile edition etc).

These details will allow people to purchase or locate a copy of the source document. If you know where a copy of the source is held state the details.

2. State your name and contact details as the author of the index.

3. State the date that you prepared the Index.

4. Put explanations about the index or abstracts of the book in the main file, NOT in a READ.ME file.

5. It's also useful to add, in the main file, the titles and details of any other books by the same author

6. Each book and index will be different, not to mention the indexer themselves ... this is a VERY subjective task and some may decide to leave things out of their indexes ... its really up to them as they are the ones doing all the work, BUT, the more effort that is put into the task, the more people will benefit from it later.

7. How to produce the index. You can use a Table in MS WORD (or the equivalent in your Word Processing Program), a spreadsheet program like MS EXCELL (WORKS is ok too) or you might be more comfortable using a database program like MS ACCESS.

It doesn't really matter, as long as you use it well and the finished file can be sent by e-mail as an attachment and read ... it is best to make sure you do have a program that can save the finished product in 'text & tabs' or 'comma-delineated (CDL)' format ... or send it as a 'DOC' file from your WORD program. (WordPerfect has trouble exporting data in a user-friendly format for others to read.)

Create your table, spreadsheet or database with three Columns headed "Reference", "Page Number" & "Code".

Examples of completed indexes have been placed on-line and hopefully your finished index will be joining them soon.

8. Indexes for the type of books we are indexing will generally fall into the categories of Articles/Contents, People, Locations, Ships, Photographs and General. For ease of sorting, it's suggested that you use the following single letter Codes as you compile your index ...

    c    (for Table of Contents/Articles)
    g    (for references of a General nature)
    l    (for Locations)
    p    (for People)
    s    (for Ships, Schooners etc)

Contents / Articles
Use a meaningful word as the first word. References starting with "The", for example, might get buried away where nobody can find them. So use "Barracks Arch, The" in preference to "The Barracks Arch".

Put the Surname first followed by a comma, then the Christian names or initials. If there is other information such as date of birth/death, maiden name or spouse you might consider adding that in brackets after the person's name for ease of identification. Similarly you can add titles, honours etc for the same reason. Page number references that are illustrations or photographs can be inserted in bold italic font to differentiate them from text references. Here's some examples ...

Craven-Griffiths, Mabel, Mrs, MBE (nee Sawkins; 1884-1966) 241-246, 243 p

Mrs Craven-Griffiths appears in the "As I Remember Them" index, a cross reference has been included under her maiden name of Sawkins.

Burt, Francis T. Page, Chief Justice Sir 188, 255 p

Use the same basic principles above for Locations, Photographs, and Ships.

9. It's preferable to have one file rather than split the index into multiple files. If you feel you need to split them into multiple files due to the sheer volume of the index, don't call the various parts 1, 2, 3, or A, B, C, etc. Try to use part of the Index's origin. e.g. if it is a very large index on the Isis Shire call the various files ISIS01.doc, ISIS02.doc, ISIS03.doc, etc.

10. Use a meaningful name for the Index. If it is an index that is regularly updated, perhaps it should have 2 numbers at the end of the name e.g. OZSHIP01.doc where 01 represents the first version of the Index.

11. Once your index is complete, send it by e-mail as an attachment to Christine Uphill who will complete the sort, add your index to the Master Index and forward it on for up-loading to the Perth DPS web-site.

12. If you had to borrow a book, remember to RETURN it when the index is finished.

Copyright ...

Under sections 40 to 42 of the Australian Copyright Act, 1968, a researcher is given a "Defence to Infringement", and that also goes for publishing for research (other people's) purposes. However, you must give full acknowledgement to the source, and not use any more than a reasonable amount of it. (Printed works means not more than 10% of it, though not always).

Copyright covers 50 years, after the death of the Author, but like all good researchers, please acknowledge fully any source, so that others can consult it.

If you prepare an index from a book without an index, you own the copyright to your index as long as it is your own work and that you are only giving references, (no workings). If the book already has an index and you are merely copying it, you could be asking for trouble!

Look-ups ...

The purpose of our indexes is to direct researchers to the information they are seeking. Members (or non-members) requesting a look-up are encouraged to get the book from their local library in the first instance, or to buy a copy of the book, and ONLY at the LAST resort should they ask the indexer to do a look-up. It can be an onerous task answering a lot of look-up requests and having to hand-transcribe each reference!!!! Requests from overseas or remote areas will always be considered "with compassion".

Master Index ...

As an additional project, Christine Uphill is planning to merge many of the finished indexes so that a look-up on a particular name/topic will produce a result with several books that hold references to that name/topic ... a long term plan in the early stages of development, but one which will be made easier if we approach the project with a certain amount of uniformity.

Happy Indexing!!!


Nov 1, 2001