Books that don’t have indexes frustrate readers

Over on Twitter it’s possible to find readers, mostly students, complaining that their books don’t have indexes. Having twice been a student I know it is hard to research essay topics, or write a thesis,  if books don’t have indexes. So I thought I’d ask a few of them which books they have found and see if they have anything in common. Here are some of the books they have mentioned:

Actually, I don’t think they have anything in common except the lack of an index.  Some of these publications date from before the internet and e-books were ever thought of, some have been released in the last few years. Some come from language traditions which don’t usually have an index. All have ended up on a reading list or have been sought out by the students as necessary reading for their courses or research. All I can say to authors and editors is, please, spare a thought for future readers and students. Readers in the future can’t count on an electronic version being available, so it surely makes sense to include a back-of-the-book index. For more on the differences between free text searching and indexes, see this useful page.

4 thoughts on “Books that don’t have indexes frustrate readers

  1. Nicholas Efstathiou

    Hello, I just saw that my book made your list of those without an index. I have complained heartily about the same in others, and never thought to include one in such a short work as my own. I will do my best to create an index for it, and let you know when (or if) I succeed. Thanks!

    Nicholas Efstathiou

  2. Bruce Metzger

    How can I obtain an index for a book I already have? Apart from making a list of words as I am reading the book, is there creative ideas on the “how” factor to get an index? From the publisher? Thanks.


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