What is the future of indexing?

We have seen many changes in the publishing industry during the past ten years. Technological advances in book production and decreased readership led to many publishers closing or being consolidated into larger concerns. This industrial disruption has affected every professional indexer, some more than others. Many indexers added services to supplement declining income, while others left the field or retired. Yet others remain busy, working as many hours as they want in the craft.

Change is still under way as technology evolves and improves. Although this can be frightening, new opportunities are emerging. At the same time, some things might not change.

So what can we expect? Based on my experiences as an indexer and technical communications consultant who works with new technologies, I am seeing a mix of traditional indexing thriving, along with some different indexing methods to accommodate modern book production. Here are my observations in more detail.