Winner of the Betty Moys Prize 2009
Life before indexing?
Sanet le Roux: After studying Library and Information Science and Counselling Psychology, I worked as a Librarian at various organisations.
SLR: My manager at my first full-time job did some freelance indexing and I was fascinated by what she told me about it. She mentioned the Society of Indexers distance-learning course and suggested I do it. I started the course, but life happened (a new job, and then a new baby) and five years later I had still not finished it. I had another go a few years later and managed to complete it successfully.
What was your first indexing job?
SLR: I’m probably the odd one out here, as I am born and bred, and living, in South Africa. I got my first indexing job from an editor who saw my contact details on the local list of available indexers (compiled by the Association of Southern African Indexers and Bibliographers – ASAIB). The editor was urgently looking for an indexer for a school textbook and was willing to give an inexperienced indexer a chance.
Have you managed to establish yourself as a full-time indexer?
SLR: Until quite recently I had a flexible part-time job as a librarian for a small resource centre, combined with working as a freelance indexer. I’m now a full-time indexer.
What do you most enjoy about being an indexer?
SLR: I find indexing quite addictive. I like the process of dissecting the text, and the way that I can lose myself in it. I find indexes quite beautiful and enjoy creating them. I also like working from home close to my family and being able to hear our dog snoring while I’m working.
Freelancers sometimes feel isolated – how do you deal keep in touch with professional colleagues?
SLR: I attend the meetings organised by the Western Cape branch of ASAIB and am subscribed to the email groups SIdeline and index-l. I also love reading posts by indexers on blogs and social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn).
What about other interests? What do you do in your ‘spare’ time and how do you relax?
SLR: I spend a lot of my free time with family and friends. I also do a fair amount of reading and often non-fiction. There’s always a new subject I’m interested in.
What’s been your best moment as an indexer so far?
SLR: I love indexing biographies and am very pleased when they become popular. One book I indexed was quite controversial, made the front page of the South African national newspapers and the first print sold out within a week.
What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to someone starting out as an indexer?
SLR: It’s difficult to choose one important piece of advice. I would recommend reading the website of the Society of Indexers (this website) and doing the Society of Indexers distance-learning course. I also think it’s important to make sure you set up an ergonomically correct workstation.
What about the future – where do you hope to be in ten years’ time?
SLR: I hope to still be indexing.