About Kari

I learned to index while I was in graduate school in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. I entered the Masters program thinking I would become a reference librarian, but within five minutes of being in my first indexing class, I knew that indexing was a great fit for me. My instructor dove into class by telling us that as a child she organized her photos in shoe boxes by category. For example, “family, mom”, “family, sister”, “friends, Suzie”, “pets, Fido”, “pets, Spot”, “vacation, 1956″, “vacation, 1957″, etc. Based on her description of the traits that make someone a good indexer, I knew that indexing was up my alley. I’ve always organized my music by genre, then alphabetically by artist name, then chronologically. I categorize my spices. As a child, I sorted M&Ms by color before eating them. My file cabinets have always been very user-friendly… I could go on, but I’m sure you get the picture.

After getting my Master’s in 1994, I immediately took a full-time position as a reference librarian. Within the first week, I felt an even stronger urge to start my indexing business. I became actively involved in indexing events in the Pacific Northwest. Before 1994 came to a close, I had launched my indexing business. (Between 1994-1998 I indexed under the name Kari Bero.)

Although I like being alone and working alone, I do also like having some  contact with the outside world. So for me, one of the biggest drawbacks to freelance indexing is the solitude. That is one of the reasons I like having part-time positions with traditional employers.

One aspect of librarianship that I really appreciate is the opportunity to remind people to use back-of-the-book indexes and watching people use indexes. I try to subtly pay attention to what words they look for and what index features frustrate them.

Jump to: Education | Professional Affiliations | Indexing | Traditional Employment | Specializations


Master of Science, Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1994.
Fields of Concentration: information organization and access
Bachelor of Arts, English Literature, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993.
Field of Concentration: sociological and cultural differences in literature

Professional Affiliations

Indexing Society of Canada / Société canadienne d’indexation (ISC / SCD)
Member, 2003-2007
American Society of Indexers (ASI)
Co-author of the ASI Web Site, 1995
Webmaster, 1995 – 1997
Web Committee member, 1995 – 1998
Pacific Northwest Chapter, American Society of Indexers (PNW/ASI)
Chair, May 1998 – May 1999
Vice-Chair / Program Chair, May 1997 – May 1998
Webmaster, 1996 – present
Directory Coordinator, 1998-2000
Newsletter Coordinator, 1996-1998
Author of the Pacific Northwest ASI Web Site, 1996
Founding member, 1996

Indexing Background

Freelance Indexer, 1994-present

See a partial list of clients

Indexing Instructor, 1998-present

I’ve enjoyed teaching and designing a variety of workshops, seminars, and courses since 1998. My indexing classes have drawn students from Southwestern Canada, all of Washington State and Oregon. I usually have a waiting list of students who want to take my indexing courses.

Relevant courses taken as part of my Master’s program:

  • Indexing (Class 450I in course catalog)
  • Cataloging and Classification I (Class 407 in course catalog)
  • Cataloging and Classification II (Class 408 in course catalog)
  • Contemporary Book Publishing (Class 443 in course catalog)
  • Independent Study — index to archived materials of Amnesty International Group #124.

Traditional (staff) Employment

Presenting at the Frankfurt Book Fair

Deb Gilchrist, Pierce College’s Dean of Library and Media Services, was interviewed for an article about my book Inside Indexing. She is quoted as saying the following about my work as a librarian: “Her ability to dissect a work and make a highly useful index is not only a gift for the authors she works with, but also for Pierce students since that same skill set works to make her an incredible reference librarian… Because she thinks so analytically, she can easily help students envision all of the ways they can approach a problem or a topic.” Update (the Pierce College employee newsletter), Volume 28 Number 03.
Trainer, Pierce County Library System (Tacoma, WA), November 2009 – December 2013. Our library won the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service from Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
Primary responsibilities:
  • Designing curriculum to support professional development of 400+ library staff.
  • Teaching face-to-face, virtual, self-paced, and hybrid classes to library staff.
  • Working with subject matter experts to design curriculum to support many additional library functions.
  • Administering employee training programs.
  • Assisting in maintenance of intranet.
  • Assisting with writing and implementing organizational policies and procedures.
  • Serving on committees and teams as assigned.
  • Maintaining relationships with trainers and instructional designers from libraries nationwide and from other types of organizations county-wide.
Research and Knowledge Manager, Mud Bay, Inc (Olympia, WA), August 2008 – November 2009.
Primary responsibilities:

  • Research, write and edit documents on a wide variety of topics within the fields of dog and cat nutrition, health, behavior and care as well as about dog and cat food and the dog and cat food industry.
  • Develop and refine effective ways to put Mud Bay’s dog and cat knowledge resources to work for Mud Bay’s customers and staff.
  • Contribute to the training of store managers and staff and to the creation of training materials.
  • Respond to non-veterinary dog and cat questions from staff, customers and other members of the community. Ensure that recommendations, solutions, and answers are factually correct, intellectually honest, scientifically valid, and reflect current scientific and cultural trends.
  • Cultivate and support knowledge-relationships with outside experts and advisers.
  • Assist marketing, inventory selection and merchandising efforts with research, writing and editing.
  • Collaborate with the rest of the Knowledge and Research group and other Mud Bay staff in analyzing organizational performance, setting goals and in making and executing plans to achieve them.
Owner and service provider, Kari Kells, Professional Pet Sitting (Olympia, WA), February 2008 – present.
Primary responsibility: Provide professional pet nanny services to dogs and cats. Including:

  • Monitoring general health of animals,
  • Administering medications,
  • Handling emergencies if they arise,
  • And providing play-time and grooming.
Faculty, Graduate School Correspondence Program (Washington, DC), 1998 – 2009.
Primary responsibility: Teaching Basic Indexing, self-paced distance-learning course
Director of Technical Services, Highline Community College Library (Des Moines, WA), July 2007 – February 2008.
Random Acts of Recognition Award recipient for “above-and-beyond performance”
Primary responsibilities as Library Management Team member:
  • Assisting in formulation of goals and objectives for the library
  • Participating collaboratively in planning and development of library services
  • Co-authoring library-wide policies and procedures
  • Assisting in oversight of web site development and maintenance
  • Assuming lead responsibility for library-wide projects as needed
  • Member of the Exhibits Committee and Celebration Committee

Primary responsibilities in Technical Services department:

  • Serving as backup System Administrator
  • Serving as liaison to OCLC
  • Hiring, supervising, and evaluating departmental staff
  • Overseeing cataloging, authority control, physical processing, serials management, and acquisitions activity
  • Determining and implementing best practices for technical services workflow and procedures
  • Co-authoring and approving departmental policies, procedures, and standards
  • Establishing routines and documentation for administering the bibliographic database and related areas of the library’s online catalog

Primary responsibilities as Reference Department member:

  • Providing traditional reference service for students, faculty, and community members
  • Participating in weekly Reference Department meetings
  • Providing course-integrated research instruction
  • Acting as Library liaison to Music department
  • Assuming lead responsibility for collection development in Music
  • Assisting with web site maintenance of subject guides
Library Faculty, Pierce College Library (Tacoma, WA), Jan 1999 – June 2007. Our library won the 2005 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award from Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).
Primary responsibilities:

  • Performing variety of technical Services activities, primiarly cataloging.
  • Assuming sole responsibility for authority control
  • Collaborating with other librarians for collection development
  • Providing traditional reference service for students, faculty, and community members
  • Providing course-integrated instruction
  • Assuming lead responsibility for writing and maintaining handouts
  • Assisting with web site development and maintenance
Adjunct Faculty, School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University, Spring 2003.
Primary responsibility: teaching Indexing and Abstracting (LI 842XO) at their Portland, OR site.
Faculty, Library Technician Program, Highline Community College (Des Moines, WA), Sept 1998 – March 1999.
Primary responsibility: Instructor for LIBR 105: Information Literacy
Library Faculty, Highline Community College Library (Des Moines, WA), Sept 1997 – Dec 1998.
Primary responsibilities:

  • Providing traditional reference service for students, faculty, and community members
  • Providing course-integrated instruction
  • Assuming lead responsibility for collection development in areas of Chiropractic, Computer Science, and Languages and Literature
Faculty, University of Washington’s Department of Technical Communication (now the department is called Human Centered Design & Engineering) (Seattle, WA), 1998 – present (occasionally).
Primary responsibility: Teaching Basic Indexing
Library Faculty, Pierce College Library (Tacoma, WA), Nov 1995 – June 1997.
Primary responsibilities:

  • Providing internet training for faculty and staff. Assuming primary responsibility for developing, scheduling, creating handouts for, and teaching classes on Internet basics (including: e-mail, telnet, gopher, FTP), advanced email (.signature files, encoding formatted files, configuring PINE, UNIX commands), web surfing, and web site design.
  • Assuming primary responsibility for creating and maintaining web site
  • Providing traditional reference service for students, faculty, and community members
  • Providing course-integrated instruction
Librarian, Reference and Research Services, University of Washington Libraries (Seattle, WA), Sept 1994 – July 1995 (temporary)
Primary responsibilities:

  • Assuming primary responsibility for developing, planning, scheduling, recruiting librarians for instruction, and teaching workshops for specific databases; course-integrated instruction; mediated searches; individual consultation requests; and tours of the Suzzallo Library
  • Developing and teaching classes for returning and transfer students
  • Providing traditional reference service and individual research consultation service for students, faculty, and community members
  • Performing mediated searches in specialized research databases
  • Conducting tours of the Suzzallo Library
  • Acting as liaison with Undergraduate Library
Library staff, Undergraduate Library, University of Illinois (Urbana, IL), Aug 1993 – Aug 1994 (temporary)
Primary responsibilities:

  • Providing traditional reference service for students, faculty, and community members
  • Participating in written anonymous reference (“Question Board”)
  • Participating in volunteered for individual research consultations (“Term Paper Research Counseling”)
  • Providing course-integrated instruction
  • Supervising library assistants

Specializations and Interests

Instruction and Education

Teaching and designing instruction for adults and traditional college students has been part of my professional life since 1991.

Computer Manuals and User Guides

I’ve been indexing hardware, software, and networking manuals for a variety of audiences, from expert to novice, since the mid-1990s. Microsoft Press has been one of my biggest clients since the mid-1990s. I index books for a wide range of skill levels, from beginning  software users to IT professionals. I’ve indexed a number of their books geared toward people working on Microsoft Certifications. I’ve also been working with Peachpit Press since the mid-1990s.

Dog and Cat Health, Behavior, and Welfare

I was a partner in Fauna Collective, LLC, was the Research and Knowledge Manager at Mud Bay (the largest healthy pet supply store in the PNW), and currently provide professional pet sitting services. Since childhood, I’ve been an animal lover and have been passionate about animal rescue and welfare. Even before doing professional work in the pet industry, I was doing pretty intense research about dog and cat health. I really geek-out on information about companion animals.

Human Rights Issues

For 5 years as an undergraduate and then into graduate school, I held officer positions an international human rights organization. I’m lucky to include Kluwer Law International as one of my clients.

Literary Criticism

My Bachelors degree is in English Literature, so I’ve read my fair share of literary criticism.

Sports, Kinesiology, and Leisure Studies

I spent 3 years working in a Kinesiology / Leisure Studies library helping faculty and students do literature research in many topics related to these disciplines.

Consumer Health

I’ve long been an avid reader of texts about many physiological and psychological health conditions (familial and personal), including migraine syndrome, fibromyalgia, mental illness, depression, and cancer. In addition, I’ve researched and experienced the benefits of a wide range of complementary and alternative health treatments.

Sign Language and Deaf Culture

As a child I became interested in American Sign Language and Deaf culture when I made friends with a girl my age who relied on ASL. As an adult, I formally studied these topics when my interest was renewed.


Sociology was my first major as an undergraduate and I focused my studies on it for 2 years. Later, when I changed my major, I stated my field of concentration as “sociological and cultural differences in literature”.