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Guidelines on Preparing the Index

Parts of the book to index
  • text
  • content notes (if any)

Parts of the book not to index
  • prefaces, table of contents, and other front matter
  • list of survey participants
  • list of works cited

What to place in the index
  • names of persons
  • titles of anonymous works

What not to place in the index
  • names of fictional characters
  • titles of works (unless anonymous)
  • subjects

Format of the index in typescript
  • List entries alphabetically, generally by last name (Ellison, Ralph but Dante Alighieri) or, for anonymous works, by title, ignoring introductory articles (a, an, the).
  • Begin each entry flush with the left margin.
  • Place a comma after the name or title, skip a space, and give relevant page number(s).
  • Use inclusive numbers if the subject continues for more than one page (10-11, 110-11).
  • Separate page numbers with a comma and a space.
  • Double-space within and between entries.
  • Indent second and subsequent lines of an entry one-half inch (or five spaces) from the left margin.
  • Use one column only per typescript page.
  • Number every page of the index in the upper right-hand corner ("Index 1").

For additional information on indexing, see The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed. (2003), ch. 18.


© 2015 Modern Language Association. Last updated 03/25/2003.