Tag Archives: Plato

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.