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University of Michigan Press Guidelines for Indexing

We’re delighted you have chosen the University of Michigan Press as your publisher and we look forward to working with you. We hope these guidelines below will help ensure you have an excellent index for your book.

Authors Are Responsible for the Index

Authors are responsible for index preparation, which takes place concurrently with proofreading the master page proof. Although you may choose to prepare your own index, UMP encourages authors to hire professional indexers; please ask your acquiring editor or your production editor for a list of names.

Hiring and paying a professional indexer is generally the author’s responsibility (please check your contract for specifics). The decision whether to hire an indexer should be made early in the production process; please select your indexer, and make arrangements with him or her, well in advance of receipt of page proof. Staying on schedule is crucial for both proofreading and indexing. Failure to maintain your book’s schedule will delay publication of your book.

If you are an author preparing your own index, please refer to the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition (CMS 17), chapter 16, “Indexes.” UMP generally follows CMS style for indexing. The following guidelines are intended both for authors and for professional indexers. They address the basics of UMP indexing style and formatting.

When to Start Creating an Index

You do not have to wait for your book’s page proofs (which contain page numbers) to arrive—start to think about index entries when you have completed the final draft of your manuscript. The index is always the last part of the book to be put together, and submission of your final index copy will be subject to a tight deadline. Preparing it now may save you time later on.

Go through a copy of your manuscript, highlighting words you want to include. Make a list of these words. A good place to start is from headings and subheadings, and move on from there.

Keep the highlighted manuscript and your list to one side until you receive the master page proof PDF from your production editor. When you receive the page proof PDF you can use the “Find” function to locate your highlighted words.

Length of Index

The length of the index can be critical to the book. Discuss any length restrictions with your acquiring editor and your production editor. Before a book goes into production, UMP makes marketing and financial plans for the book that depend upon book features, such as size, number of images, tables, etc. If an index comes in over the anticipated length it can pose difficulties. The average index length is eight (8) master proof pages. This is approximately equal to twenty-four (24) single column double-spaced pages. If your acquiring editor or production editor tells you there are only five pages for the index and you send in fifty (50) pages of single column double-spaced entries the production editor will return the index to you to shorten. Some books have more than one index. (See Types of Indexes.)

Conciseness of the Index

This is an important factor. As the index should be concise and to the point, it should only reference what is relevant—not every single item, as this can actually damage the usefulness of the index.

The length will be governed in part by the number of pages available to contain the index. This varies from book to book. Your production editor will let you know approximately how many pages there are available.

Types of Indexes

Most scholarly books have only one index, containing names and key terms or concepts (a conceptual index, or general index of subject matter). In UMP Classics/Archaeology books, however, it is generally preferred to have an index of sources and a general index, with the title of each index often appearing in Latin. The indexes in these books might include, for example, an index of classical citations (Index Locorum) and an index of names or a general index (Index Nominum or Verborum). If you feel your book needs more than one index, consult with your acquiring editor well in advance.

Choice of Entry

Ask yourself the following questions for each entry:

a. Is the entry a term readers are likely to look up? If there is an alternative, consider whether you should use it instead or as a cross-reference (notes on cross-referencing follow).

b. Is the entry helpful to the reader?

c. Is it necessary?

d. Is it relevant?

The answers to these questions will help you to keep your index concise. Passing mentions and citations should not normally be indexed, nor should preliminary pages such as the Contents or Acknowledgments. Notes are generally not indexed unless they contain substantive information to the text (an exception is books that contain an Index of Passages Cited, which normally include passages that have been cited in the notes as well as in the text).

In short, it is the pages that contain significant discussion and mention of important themes, authors, titles, etc., which should be referenced. Remember that an index is not a concordance; selectivity in deciding what to include will assist readers in finding information and will make for a stronger index.


Above all, be consistent in the style you use. UMP will follow the author’s style of how they created the index, so be consistent in your style. UMP does have the option to stylize the index if the author has not been consistent or UMP feels the style is too avant-garde, but will not take the time to redo the index. If the index is found to be lacking, confusing, or with no apparent style, UMP reserves the right to return the index to the author to make it consistent and a useable tool.

Page Proof PDF

After receiving your page proof PDF you should return to your already-prepared list of words.

Use the “Find” function to locate the terms you want in your index. The time lapse between compiling your original list and adding page numbers will help you to evaluate your designated entries once more.

Formatting the Index

We would like to receive your index by email. It should be a Word document, sent as an email attachment. The document should be presented double-spaced in single-column format. Please indent turnover lines, but do not use any other kind of special formatting (i.e., tabs, columns). We will create the hanging indents in-house.

Indexes are generally formatted in flush-and-hang (or hanging-indention) style. The first line of each entry is set flush left, and any following lines are indented. When there are subentries, you must choose between run-in or indented style.

UMP prefers run-in style indexes. Sometimes it is necessary to have indented style. When an indented style index is necessary, please limit the use of sub-subentries. Sub-sub-subentries are strongly discouraged. You can create a run-in style index and have only a few entries with indented style. This is often necessary when discussing an author and a particular work. Examples of the two styles follow.

Run-in Style Index

audience, 3, 11, 23–24; academic and professional, 63; alternative, 159; authentic, 58, 59;
          supportive, 211; target, 107, 109
Santiago, Wilfred: In My Darkest Hour, 2, 12, 16, 90; In My Darkest Hour, embodiment in,
          91–92, 103

Indented Style Index

audience, 3, 11, 23–24
          academic and professional, 63
          alternative, 159
          authentic, 58, 59
          supportive, 211
          target, 107, 109
Santiago, Wilfred
          In My Darkest Hour, 2, 12, 16, 90
          embodiment in, 91–92, 103


Lowercase the first letter of every entry unless a proper noun. Alphabetize letter by letter, including subentries (see Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed., section 16.56, p. 831). Alphabetize by the first important word (words such as and and short prepositions such as of do not count).

          Macintosh apples, 20
          McCoy, Heather, 30–32
          McDonald, Russell, 200–201
          Museum of Modern Art, 188
          museums, 188
          shortening, 2–3
          St. Paul, 203–4
          Washington, George, 150–51
          Washingtonians, 100, 104
          Washington Post, 89
          Washington state, 72


“See” references following a main heading. When a see reference follows a main heading, as it usually does, it is preceded by a period and See is capitalized and italicized. If two or more see references are needed, they are arranged in alphabetical order and separated by semicolons. They reflect the capitalization and word order of the main heading.

           adolescence. See teenagers; youth

“See” references following a subheading. When a see reference follows a subheading it is placed in parentheses and see is lowercased and italicized.

          data processing, 22, 56, 78; tagging for typesetter (see typesetting: tagging)

“See also” references. See also references are placed at the end of an entry when additional information can be found in another entry. In run-in indexes, they follow a period; in indented indexes, they appear on a separate line. See is capitalized, and both words are in italics. If the cross-reference is to a subentry under another main heading, the words see also under may be used. If two or more see also references are needed, they are arranged in alphabetical order and separated by semicolons. As with see references, see also references must never lead to a see reference. There is no ending punctuation on a cross-reference.

          copyright , 95–100. See also permission to reprint; source notes
          PTSD. See post-traumatic stress disorder

Figures and Tables

Most indexes will not have illustrations indexed.

However if you feel it is necessary for your index to include page numbers for any type of illustrative material (including maps, musical examples, charts/graphs, photographs, drawings, tables, etc.), just place the page number in italics. This is your only option. .

Please make sure the comma following the page number is roman, not italic.

If you choose to have your index contain page numbers for illustrative material, please add a brief note at the beginning of your document (called a headnote) explaining the usage, as in this example:

          Note: Page numbers in italics refer to the illustrations and tables.

Please do not place any kind of letter following the page number in the index, as this will break the index-linking process in your reflowable ebook. For example, adding an f, t, ex, a, or any other letter(s) following the page number, will break the index-linking process in the ebook. The only letters that do not break the index linking, are n and nn, related to indexing the Notes. Please see the Notes section for indexing notes.


When indexing text within notes, please put an “n” plus the note number after its page reference, or “nn” if the notes are consecutive, e.g., 48n2, 48nn2–3. Remember to only include notes that are substantive—not bibliographical.

Page Numbers

For inclusive page numbers (ranges), follow the style used in the book (generally, 12–14, 116–17, 106–7, 100–107). Use an en dash (–), not a hyphen (–), to separate numbers in a range.

Avoid long strings of page numbers (more than ten), which make it hard for readers to locate relevant information, and which reduce the value and utility of your index. If an entry has more than ten page numbers, create one or more subentries. If a subentry has more than ten page numbers, break up the subentry into two or more subentries, as in this example:

          museums, 1–6; history of, 12–25, 28, 34, 36, 39–40, 42, 48, 51, 55, 63, 85–88, 94,

better to do the following:
          museums, 1–6, 94; historical development of, 36, 39–40, 42, 48, 51; origins of, 12–25,
                     28, 34, 103; recent history of, 55, 63, 85–88

Avoid long page ranges (more than fifteen or so pages) by subdividing an extended discussion, as in this example:
          museums, 10–40

better to do the following:
          museums: concept of, 10–12; history of, 13–33; trends in, 34–40

When indexing discursive material in notes, whether endnotes (at end of book or end of chapter) or footnotes (at page bottom), use the following style for locators: 208n13, 208nn15–16 (no period, no spaces, en dash instead of hyphen for inclusive numbers).


The main entry may or may not have page numbers of its own in addition to the subentries. Use a colon and a space after the entry if it does not have page numbers of its own:

          museums: history of, 12–25; recent trends in, 26–30
          museums, 1, 38, 153; history of, 12–25; recent trends in, 26–30


A main heading followed immediately by a subheading has a colon; a main heading followed by page numbers has a comma; two or more subentries are separated by a semicolon. An index entry has no final punctuation.

          Brown, Elizabeth: A Matter of Fact, 22
          Brown, Henry, 22, 56; birth, 3; education, 6

It is critical that the punctuation in the index be correct, so that in your ebook the page numbers will link back to the actual text locations. Please double-check the following:

  • All punctuation must be roman, not italic, even if the number or text right before the punctuation or right after the punctuation is in italics. If any punctuation is italic, the entry will not link in the ebook.
  • The commas and semicolons must be exactly as shown in the examples above—if a period is used by mistake, or a comma is missed, the entry will not link in the ebook.
  • Please search and replace to make sure there are no extra spaces; if there are two spaces instead of one, the entry will not link in the ebook.