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Detailed alphabetical list(s) mapping the contents of a book and designed to help the reader find information quickly and easily. As discussed under indexing, the index is a mandatory element in any academic book.

While normally only a single index is produced, some books will divide their indexes into (say) a name and subject index. This is a good idea in more extensive types of literary study, for instance, where segregating the book titles and/or authors into a separate literature index frees up the main (subject?) index from a lot of clutter and allows it to cover more broader issues in a more easily readable form.

The index is the last section of the back matter.

This definition is extracted (and expanded on) from the book Getting Published: A Companion for the Humanities and Social Sciences by Gerald Jackson and Marie Lenstrup. It was first referred to in the blog Getting Published in the first of a series of posts on indexing.

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