Indexing and Abstracting


Major project

Application of Concepts


Dr. Yan Liu

Course Description

The course explores theoretical and practical aspects of the organization of information in documentation systems, and covers traditional and computerized approaches to indexing, abstracting and thesaurus construction and maintenance. 

Course Objectives

To provide a basic understanding of the concepts involved in indexing and abstracting textual materials, and an introduction to the actual indexing and abstracting process through examples and participatory exercises and assignments. 

At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  1. understand the principles of knowledge representation 
  2. understand the role of indexing and abstracting in information storage/retrieval process 
  3. identify and evaluate different types of indexes and abstracts 
  4. compare and contrast natural language versus controlled vocabulary 
  5. construct user-centered indexes and abstracts 
  6. be aware of various computer software programs in indexing and producing thesauri 
  7. identify job opportunities for the indexer/abstracter. 


Required Text:

Donald Cleveland and Ana Cleveland, Introduction to Indexing and Abstracting, 3rd. (Englewood, CO, Libraries Unlimited, Inc., 2001). 

Helpful Reading Resources:

Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993). 

F.W. Lancaster, Indexing and Abstracting in Theory and Practice, 2nd ed. (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois, 1998).

B. C. O'Connor, Explorations in Indexing and Abstracting: Pointing, Virtue, and Power (Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1996).


Pamela R. Dennis