At the Society of Indexers annual conference at Keele University, the Society’s President, Professor John Sutherland, presented the Wheatley Medal for 2011 to a team of indexers from the Netherlands, Caroline Diepeveen, Pierke Bosschieter and Jacqueline Pitchford-Belder, for their index to The Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World (edited by N. Stillman and published by Brill in 2010). According to the chair of the judging panel, Professor Cathy Shrank of Sheffield University, this was an exceptional index and a most deserving winner. ‘The size of the task (indexing a five-volume work) was immense in itself, and indexing an encyclopaedia (which is itself a kind of index) requires something different from indexing other works. In this case, this difficult task was accomplished with scholarly authority.’ They singled out the scrupulous editing for particular praise. ‘None of us found any clues to the fact that this index was compiled by a team. The overall editing [by Caroline Diepeveen] must have been very thoroughly done – no mean feat in an index of this size. In short, the panel was deeply impressed.’
Joan Dearnley was highly commended for her index to The Edinburgh Companion to Virginia Woolf and the Arts (edited by M. Humm and published by Edinburgh University Press in 2010). The judges felt that she had risen ably to the various challenges it posed: a multi-authored volume, focusing on one person and, most significantly, dealing predominantly with abstract concepts. According to Cathy, ‘The indexer showed a remarkable ability for analysing the text and produced an index which was responsive to, and usefully reflected, the main subject of the book. This was a considerable accomplishment.’
Finally, Barbara Hird was commended her indexes to the New Cambridge History of Islam, vol. 1 (edited by C. F. Robinson) and vol. 4 (edited by R. Irwin, both published by Cambridge University Press in 2010). The indexing task for both these volumes was complex, owing to their size and detail. ‘The indexes showed scholarship,’ said Cathy. ‘They and were comprehensive, clear, and helpful, with the glossing of foreign terms well-placed to aid the less-specialist reader. The indexer also dealt admirably with the challenge of transliteration and diacritics. This was exemplary, meticulous work.’
Overall the judges felt there was a very strong field this year, and extend their thanks to all the publishers and indexers who had submitted work. However, sadly, there was not a single scientific or medical work amongst the eighteen entries.
The full text of the judges' report can be read here.
Biographical information on the winners
Caroline Diepeveen studied political science and international relations at the University of Amsterdam and the London School of Economics, gaining a bachelor degree in political science and a masters degree in international relations, specializing in the modern history of the Middle East (both University of Amsterdam). After brief careers in research and management consultancy, she took up indexing after relocating to Scotland, following her husband who works in the oil industry. She received her Society of Indexers accreditation in December 1997 and has been a freelance indexer ever since, specializing in social sciences, modern history, international law, Islam and Judaism. She is now an advanced professional member of the Society of Indexers and since 2000 has lived and worked in Middelburg (Netherlands).
Jacqueline Pitchford has a background in library and information science and received her Society of Indexers accreditation in 2009. Prior to starting her own business, Index ‘n’ Things, Jacqueline gained over 12 years’ experience in desk research and knowledge management working for leading international management consultancy firms such as McKinsey & Company and KPMG Consulting. Apart from offering indexing services, Jacqueline carries out desk research assignments on a regular basis. She has experience in the following subject areas: agriculture, consumer goods, culture, economics, environment, history, international relations, religion, social sciences, and transportation and logistics.
Pierke Bosschieter started her working life in the public health service. In need of change, she studied library and information science and worked for several years as an archivist. Food and cooking have always been her great passion, so when an opportunity arose to start a vegetarian catering business with a friend, she jumped at the offer. When after a few years of catering the work proved to be too strenuous, she had to search for a more sedate means of support. A lifelong avid reader, she at last found her métier in indexing. She started indexing in 2005, specializing in the humanities and, of course, in food-related subjects. She publishes articles about indexing on a regular basis, as one of the editors of The Indexer.
The index for the Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World was their first index as a team and all three are founding members of the Netherlands Indexing Network (NIN)
Joan Dearnley holds degrees in history and fine art and a postgraduate diploma in librarianship. Several years working in academic libraries was followed by a period looking after her two small children, during which she gradually developed a portfolio career of freelance and part-time work (piano teacher, art gallery assistant and school librarian), while also studying for a masters degree in fine art. It was whilst ‘indexing’ books for a local first-school library that she remembered hearing a radio programme about indexing and the Society of Indexers. She qualified as an indexer in the late 1990s, attending her first conference in 1999, where she found herself volunteering to help run the local Yorkshire Group. So began what has become a continuing involvement with the work of the Society, as well as a successful indexing career. She currently serves on the training and CPD committees, has contributed to the development of the Society’s training course and is a workshop tutor. Joan became a Registered Indexer in 2002 and is now a Fellow of the Society of Indexers.
Barbara Hird read Classics at Cambridge University and was a Rotary Graduate Fellow at the University of Athens. After several years as a civil servant, and then at home with small children, she trained as an indexer, and has been a Registered Indexer, and subsequently a Fellow of the Society of Indexers, since 1987, specializing in the ancient world, late antiquity and the middle ages. She is a past Vice-President of the Society and has chaired its Training and Qualifications Board. She was previously awarded the Wheatley Medal in 1999 and 2008 and was highly commended in 2009 and 2010.