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The Indexing Process


  1. Read carefully and understand the title.

  2. Read the introduction down to the point where the author states the purpose of his article and correlate it with the title. Absorb but do not necessarily attempt to index the introductory material since this is usually a statement of known facts upon which the present study is based.

  3. Scan the body of the article, focus on the Materials & Methods section and the Results section.

  4. Note section headings, paragraph headings; italics, boldface; charts, plates, tables, illustrations; laboratory methods, case reports, etc. Headings supplied by the author usually herald the content of the section headed.

  5. Select for indexing only those subjects actually discussed as opposed to those subjects merely mentioned (and of little or no value in retrieval).

  6. Read the summary or conclusions of the author to determine whether he achieved the aims set forth in his stated purpose. Weigh conclusions based on the text but do not index implications or suggested future applications. Do not index conclusive statements not supported by discussion in the text.

  7. Scan the abstract, if there, for items missed in indexing, being careful, however, to locate actual discussions within the text of the article; ignore mere implications.

  8. Scan the author's own indexing if supplied or the keywords supplied by the publisher to see whether the concepts chosen are actually discussed in the text and if they have been indexed.

  9. Scan the bibliographic references supplied by the author for clues and further corroboration.

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Last Reviewed: April 15, 2015