The book designer mailed a CD to me containing the entire book From Buckeye to G.I. so that I could try my hand at indexing the book. I have CS5 which contains the latest version of InDesign. This is a program that I have not had time to play around with much, and is said to have a very steep learning curve. I have a hard enough time with gentle curves, much less trying to deal with steep ones. But what the heck, I decided to give it the old college try.
The CD opened nicely in InDesign, and I found an Adobe website with a tutorial on using the indexing feature of InDesign. Looking at the crappy tutorial, I see part of the reason that InDesign has a bad reputation for ease of use. Even the video was awful. But I muddled along and actually was able to create an index. Unfortunately, it only listed the first page a word appeared on and not any subsequent pages, but I think I could have worked through that. What became a major issue for me though was the scanned documents. Apparently you cannot index (through the program) any words appearing in a jpg, tiff or any other scanned format. Since a lot of names and places appear in the 160 scans in the book, this is obviously not acceptable to me.
So it looks like I will be creating a manual index after all. I don't feel like what I did accomplish with the program was a waste of time however. It did at least alphabetize a large number of words for me. I will be able to use that as the skeleton upon which to build the rest of the index. I hope to get it all typed up and sent back to the designer by tomorrow afternoon so that he can insert it into the book.