Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Just a thought. There are some important books out there which deserve good indices. The prime example, which has frustrated me innumerable times, is Daniel Sperber's seven-volume book, Minhagei Yisrael. There is a huge amount of information there. Much of it appears as BTW footnotes in random places, or scattered in the addenda to the later volumes. It takes ages to find what I want, and I'm never sure there isn't some crucial passage hiding somewhere I didn't notice.

If Sperber intends to publish additional volumes, and I certainly hope he does, perhaps a good way of keeping the index up-to-date would be online. This worked well for another book that kept coming out in clumps.

By the way, a slightly edited version of one of my postings is now on Jewschool.


Blogger Mobius said...

Indexing is a pain in the ass, particularly if the book you're dealing with is typeset in Hebrew. Most of the layout tools used by publishers have difficulty properly generating indexes in English, let alone "foreign" languages. To do manual indexing is such a daunting undertaking, it's no wonder he'd pass on it, no matter how valuable it'd be to the reader at day's end.

6:11 PM  
Blogger manuscriptboy said...

I know, I indexed a book manually this past summer. I thought my hands were going to fall off.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Darius Mckeithan said...

I really appreciate people like you who take their chance in such an excellent way to give an impression on certain topics. Thanks for having me here.

10:15 PM  

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