Name Indexes

Name Indexes list the names of people mentioned in a text, rather than subjects, which are then put into a Subject index. It is usually best to have a single, combined name/subject index for a text, as it is easier to cross-reference between names and subjects, and there is a danger that the reader may not notice the presence of the other index. In some cases, however, perhaps when the number of names could obscure the subjects, it may be judged best to separate them.

Name Indexes are more mechanistic to produce than subject indexes, as it is does not require specialist knowledge or judgement to see where a person is mentioned, but nevertheless present their own problems: biographies will often present only partial information on a person (“John Smith arrived with his daughter…”); some families give the eldest son the same name as his father resulting in family histories with generations of people with the same name; and some people appear in different places in a book with different names, either through marriage or a desire to make things difficult for future indexers.

Scholarly Name Indexes

Scholarly/Bibliographic Name Indexes are a special case and list the names of the authors cited, via the bibliographic references in text. They allow readers to trace what use has been made of a particular authors work.

There are two systems of references. A work using author/year(name/date, Harvard) system references might contain citations:

  • … raised ethical questions (Elliot, 1998)…
  • …ethical questions raised by Elliot (1998)…

With the references in a separate section at the end of the chapter or book, containing:

  • Elliott, Lorraine (1998), The Global Politics of the Environment, New York: NYU Press.

For a work using the older author/title (numeric) system the citation might be:

  • … raised ethical questions 9

The end-notes or foot-notes contain:

  • 9 Elliott, Lorraine, The Global Politics of the Environment, New York: NYU Press, 1998.

Both systems provide the full information necessary to allow the reader to obtain a copy of the book. The author/year system has the advantages that the authors name is visible in the text and the books referenced are grouped together by author, but the author/title system is less intrusive for the reader not interested in the references.

If the citations appeared on pages 20 and 25, then the index entry would be:

  • Elliot, Lorraine, 20, 25

However, if the numeric system is combined with end-notes, then it is not easy for the reader to find which of the references on pages 20 and 25 are to this author, so it is neccessary to use:

  • Elliot, Lorraine, 20n9, 25n9
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