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#1 Posted : Thursday, June 25, 2020 6:38:52 PM(UTC)

Hi member indexers, i have quite a few books that are not yet indexed, mostly Australian publications and I've thought about indexing them myself. I'd like to know about the experiences of those members who have indexed books, magazines or even blogs. I'm particularly interested in the amount of time they have needed to put in. I don't want to commit to something that's going to take a great deal more time than I envisaged.

#2 Posted : Thursday, June 25, 2020 10:40:45 PM(UTC)
I’ve done a few books. It’s fairly demanding. I would recommend selecting something very short (under 50 recipes if possible) and one-topic (Like only soup or cookies) as your first book—also something that doesn’t have a lot of people who own it on their bookshelves. A magazine might also be a good first one to try as you’d get a feel for a variety of types of recipes but they are relatively short. I started small and worked up to larger, more complex books. It’s very detail oriented work. I enjoy it but I don’t always have time for it. I also suggest reading the extensive help material first before deciding if you want to do it. Also it is helpful to be comfortable with switching back and forth between screens as you will want the ingredient information and recipe information open.
#3 Posted : Friday, June 26, 2020 5:02:34 AM(UTC)

I find that if I like the book I can index around 20 recipes an hour.. it whiles away winter nights! 

#4 Posted : Friday, June 26, 2020 7:24:54 AM(UTC)

Indexing is detailed work and it takes a while to familiarise yourself with all the guidleines but you do get quicker the more you do. I second the advice to pick a short book or magazine to start with and to chose one that is maybe on a specific topic to make it as easy as possible. 

#5 Posted : Friday, June 26, 2020 10:36:59 AM(UTC)

I agree with the previous member indexers' experiences. I index about 20 recipe per hour, although I was slower when I first started. When working on an indexing project, I usually spend 1 hour at a time indexing during the evening. Then return another day for an additional hour, until the book is complete. 

I also recommend starting with a shorter book on a specific topic; it simplifies some of the indexing categories. 

#6 Posted : Saturday, June 27, 2020 11:57:28 AM(UTC)

I don't know if I can add much other than to echo the suggestions already made about choosing a book with a small number of recipes on a single topic as the best type for your first project. Not sure why folks recommend one that's not on too many bookshelves though, unless that's just so that you won't pick one that could be indexed by EYB's professional indexers.

I did have crazy notions at first that I would be able to complete indexing on my whole library within a year. Another forum member suggested that that was probably unrealistic. I'm still working on trying to complete as many of them as I can, but I just counted it up again, and even though I spend a lot of time indexing, I see that it averages about 1.5 books per month--and that includes some that were very, very short (less than 25 recipes). My cookbook collection is very dated--so when I first discovered EYB, only a very small number of the titles were already indexed. I think it may have only been 15%--well it was definitely under 25%, but, looking at your library, a much greater percentage of it has already been indexed.

I started by printing out the member-indexing instructions and the recipe-types list and studying them over the course of a couple of days during my commute. It was obvious that a lot of work had gone into that documentation, and the recipe types list, in particular, was very helpful to read through and get a good sense of how it all works. (You will probably find some of EYB's rules a little peculiar--I do, but it's okay.)

Although I've never really timed it myself, the timing estimates mentioned here sound accurate to me. Although I would add to that a few more hours (possibly) for proofreading. I always like to go through the whole book a second time and correct whatever I can before submitting it, and (for me) that process still takes quite a bit of time, even though all the data entry has been done. I happen to enjoy the whole process though. Well, the proofreading is a little tedious, but the actual indexing I find very enjoyable. But if you're not detail-oriented, you might not feel the same.

But I hope you give it a try. I hate to see people intimidated by it. There are two things that I wish about EYB. 1) That more people would volunteer to do member indexing. 2) That more people would write reviews of all the recipes that they cook. I still see many books that are on quite a few bookshelves that don't seem like they have as many notes as they should if they're really that popular. Like I'm always hoping after I finish indexing a title that I will see folks now add notes that they weren't able to do so before, but that rarely happens. (But, again, that's probably because most of the titles I work on are kind of obscure.)

Good luck!

#7 Posted : Saturday, June 27, 2020 5:40:43 PM(UTC)

so agree with whitewoods about recipe review notes... I like to make a note so I can remind myself when/if I last had that dish.. far too many recipes out there to repeat a recie unless its really, really good!

As to indexing your whole library .. it is possible (well, if you stop buying cookbooks).. I'm sitting at 92% (328 of 358 books indexed, my count of member indexed books is around 150, of which I've done 130.. in the 9 years I've been a subscriber .. so that's around 14 a year!

#8 Posted : Sunday, June 28, 2020 1:24:13 PM(UTC)

Wow, you've done loads debkellie!  I've got 11 left and then I've promised myself not to buy any more unindexed books; Sydney will breathe a sigh of relief that there will no more indexes of mine to check!

#9 Posted : Monday, June 29, 2020 8:40:27 AM(UTC)

Thanks everyone for your help. I will start with something as small as possible. Debkellie, you are very impressive! you've probably indexed some of my books. Whitewoods, you're right about the notes. It's so interesting to get a new book and then check what notes members have made. It helps me decide what I want to make. After a bit of time when I didn't make too many notes, I'm making a conscious effort to do it.

#10 Posted : Monday, June 29, 2020 7:49:31 PM(UTC)

The one thing I never actually bothered to learn is the ingredient shortcut codes. You know, you can just type "ay" and the system will fill in "active dry yeast". That just seemed like one chart too many for me, when I was trying to learn everything else. So I've always just typed them out, but maybe I should finally familiarize myself with those shortcuts. I wonder how many of the other member indexers use them.

#11 Posted : Tuesday, June 30, 2020 4:47:41 PM(UTC)

Definitely worth learning whitewoods! Trouble is, I now use them on my paper shopping list, and the other half says "what does cm mean?"... 

#12 Posted : Tuesday, June 30, 2020 11:32:21 PM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: debkellie Go to Quoted Post
Definitely worth learning whitewoods! Trouble is, I now use them on my paper shopping list, and the other half says "what does cm mean?"...

Yes. Right after I posted that I printed out the list and finally started using it. I see many of them are very helpful, such as:

jc = jalapeño chiles (Very helpful, because the tilde always makes it a little difficult--I can't simply type it and press enter. I always have to select it from the list.)

cp = ground cayenne pepper (This one is gonna be very helpful too, as it always takes me a little while to find it on the list if I didn't start out by typing the word "ground".)

And the cinnamon too. Yes, I can see already that they do make the indexing go along more quickly. It's just that in the beginning it was enough for me just memorizing the Store-Cupboard Ingredients Table.

#13 Posted : Wednesday, July 1, 2020 3:10:51 AM(UTC)

white woods : quick tip for ground stuff .. type last two letters, then first 2 or 3 of next word & select from drop down ;-) eg:   nd cori .. ground coriander; nd cu ground cumin

Same trick works well for speeding up list of double words and also for american v UK spellings .. ie: lli fl  for chilli flakes

#15 Posted : Thursday, July 2, 2020 7:54:48 AM(UTC)

I've indexed 18 books so far, by my notes. I really enjoy it and only wish I had more time to put into it! It's a great way to get more familiar with new titles I've acquired that look good, or to discover some recipes I've overlooked in favorite cookbooks.

I echo the recommendation to start with smaller, single topic cookbooks. There's a lot to learn about the specifics of recipe types, so it can be a bit overwhelming otherwise. So I've done things like pasta only cookbooks, Italian grilling, stir-fries, etc., each of which makes it easier to learn the basics before tackling broader topic books.

I can't really give an approximate time for me to index because it varies so much on my time and availability. Sometimes I've been able to run through a short book in just a week or two; other times it's taken me more like 6 months, because I've just had too much going on to focus.

I tend to do one pass through a book, then go back to the very start to double-check all entries are complete, that I didn't skip any pages, proofread, etc. If I find I've needed to make a lot of corrections then I'll do a second complete pass before submitting. The proofreading probably takes me the longest! One tip I have, depending on your browser, is to also copy & paste the list of recipe titles into a word processing program before submitting as well. I'm a terrible speller (LOL) and for some reason the auto-correct on my browser never works on titles, so I have to check spelling externally. If I forget I always get some correction notes back on title spelling errors (oops).

I also greatly appreciate the recipe notes people leave and try to do so regularly myself. In fact if I cook a recipe from one of my books that isn't indexed yet, I add a sticky note in it with my review, rating, date cooked, that one day if/when that book is indexed I can add my notes to share on it then.

#14 Posted : Friday, July 3, 2020 6:26:04 AM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: debkellie Go to Quoted Post
white woods : quick tip for ground stuff .. type last two letters, then first 2 or 3 of next word & select from drop down ;-) eg: nd cori .. ground coriander; nd cu ground cumin

This is fantastic! I had no idea. Thank you so so much for the tip!

#17 Posted : Friday, July 3, 2020 10:46:38 PM(UTC)

e-ballad .. works well for many items!! Speeds things up no end!! Had you known that for Larousse ... ;-)

#16 Posted : Saturday, July 4, 2020 1:34:10 PM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: nicolepellegrini Go to Quoted Post
I also greatly appreciate the recipe notes people leave and try to do so regularly myself. In fact if I cook a recipe from one of my books that isn't indexed yet, I add a sticky note in it with my review, rating, date cooked, that one day if/when that book is indexed I can add my notes to share on it then.

I leave notes on unindexed books. I just list the recipe title and the page number before my comment.

#18 Posted : Sunday, July 5, 2020 2:59:00 PM(UTC)

@whitewoods - I do use some of the shortcut codes.  I actually type out the whole ingredient because I find it is faster to continue typing, then to lift my hand from the keyboard and click on the ingredient, so the shortcuts codes do come in handy.  The book I am indexing now uses ground cayenne pepper (cp), crushed red pepper flakes (pf) and ground cinnamon (cn) in many recipes, so it is easier to type the code.  I found early on that you don't necessarily have to consult the Shortcut Codes List, but type in a code you think might pop the ingredient - if it does, great (now you know), if not, no big deal.

I've indexed quite a few books over the years - not as many as some of you - I would be curious to know how many!  A couple of years ago, Deborah reached out and asked me to add the page numbers to the recipes for Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone (Deborah Madison) and said I might want to double check the indexing for accuracy.  Well, as this book was indexed very early on (Jane told me recently before EYB was even launched), it really needed an indexing overhaul!  Ingredients have been added to the list as well as new rules over the years.  (So if you see that only about half of the recipes in this book have page numbers, this is why!)  I only work on it sporadically.

It is so hot here (San Antonio, TX) that I decided to work on it for a few hours this weekend.  Yesterday, I decided I needed to just INDEX, rather than proof a previous indexer's work, so I decided to index another book that had been assigned to me before Deborah asked me to work on Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.  MAN - I feel so accomplished - in two afternoons, I have indexed 3/4 of Fast Food, Good Food (Andrew Weil)!  It is definitely much faster to index from scratch than to check over and correct a previous indexer's work, unless it is an accomplished indexer under current indexing rules.  But it is fun and I love the book.

Fast Food, Good Food is a quick index because it does not have a lot of recipes within recipes nor a lot of weird ingredients.  I learned to index according to EYB's standards mostly from my early-on mistakes.

My indexing process consists of:  1-Enter title (it took me forever to get used to not capitalizing every word of the recipe title!), 2-consider all metadata (recipe type, course, nutrition, etc.) - I generally read the recipe head note and scan the ingredients to ascertain the metadata, then 3-enter the ingredients and any associated notes for Sydney.  I make my final step entering the page number of the recipe.


#19 Posted : Sunday, July 5, 2020 3:09:46 PM(UTC)

Hi PennyG! Since you asked: you've indexed 12 books over the many years you've been an EYB member -- in fact, I believe you were one of our first volunteer member-indexers long before we opened up Member Indexing to everyone! So kudos and thanks for all your indexing, and for the yeoman's (or should I say yeowoman's?) work you've done so far on Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, which is owned by over 3,600 EYB members!

#20 Posted : Sunday, July 5, 2020 3:28:44 PM(UTC)

Hi Deborah - and thanks for the shout-out!

I also meant to add to others suggestions for a new indexer that yes, maybe a single-topic small book might be a good first book.  I would then pick a book with all kinds of recipes so you can take your time and get used to the entire Recipe Types list and the overall Indexer Guide.  You will make mistakes, which Sydney will kindly point out, but that's how you learn.

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