Step One

Learning the Basics of Indexing

Jump to information about:  Description |  Who is Step One for |  Upcoming Schedule |  Cost

“Thank you for such a great experience in your indexing class… I’ve taken several workshops on indexing and the [Graduate School] course but none of them really made me feel I’d gotten good info and, especially, good practice. This class did that… I was so impressed with how thorough and thoughtful you were in your organization of our notebook, providing ferry tickets, and all the many little touches of fostering you offered. I especially appreciated and admired the way you included all points of view and never made anyone feel small for what we didn’t know.” – Kathy Galvin


My Step One course consists of five, 3-hour classes (for a total of 15 in-class hours). Most people spend3-5 additional hours per week reading the assigned articles and completing the index-writing exercises. (This time varies, depending on how much time each student invests in writing indexes.) In this class, you learn the basics of indexing and upon completion, you will be prepared to begin a freelance indexing business.

Key features of this course are:

  • Informative lectures by Kari Kells, an experienced instructor and successful freelance indexer.
  • Lively, in-class discussions facilitated by Kari Kells.
  • Individual attention both in class and on assignments. Because participation is limited to a maximum of 15 students, your questions and assignments will receive focused individual attention.
  • Reading packets containing recent indexing-related articles and chapters from books.
  • Timely, thorough feedback on your indexing assignments.
“[your teaching style] is very accessible, very well-prepared, excellent (and frequently amusing) examples.”- anonymous


  • Intellectual access and index use
  • Processes of creating indexes
  • Indexing standards and guidelines
  • Evaluating and editing indexes
  • Software for professional indexers
“I really appreciate how practical your course is.” – Judith Light

Who Are These Classes For?

This course is geared toward anyone interested in learning the basics of indexing.

The only prerequisite is that you are motivated to learn basic indexing skills. Among those who have benefited from my Step One classes:

  • People planning on starting a freelance indexing business who have read a little about indexing but haven’t taken an indexing course yet.
  • Students enrolled in other indexing courses who didn’t have as much practical information, experience, and interaction with an instructor as they wanted. (If you have taken a correspondence course, and are simply looking for some one-on-one discussion about your indexing style and process, you may find my consultation services helpful.)
  • Editors and project managers in charge of contracting with indexers and editing indexes before they’re printed.
  • Librarians and archivists who want to hone their skills for creating indexes, catalogs, or finding aids for items in their collections.
“Definitely the BEST way to learn how to index! I felt challenged, but I had a lot of fun doing the assignments… I learned everything I came here for, and more…. It was well worth my time and money. Thanks.” – anonymous (2002)

Upcoming Schedule

No classes are scheduled at this time. If you’re interested in taking this course, please sign up to receive advance notification of the next one scheduled. Email me if you have any questions or would like references from former students who can tell you about my teaching style and the effectiveness of my classes.

If you’d like to study with me and don’t want to wait for my next face-to-face course, consider taking my self-paced tutorials.


E-mail or call me for current workshop fees. I do accept credit cards (through PayPal), if you prefer to pay online with plastic.

Note: this class is tax deductible as a business expense if you get your business license in the same year as you pay for this course.

“I greatly appreciate your sharing your personal experiences. This was the real value of the course, and worth the cost almost by itself.” – anonymous (2008) “Just a note to thank you for all of your help. I really appreciate the detailed comments and suggestions that you made on all of my assignments. I have learned a lot from you.” – Yvette Cunningham