In his preface to the book, Professor David Crystal laments, "Indexing is an anonymous profession. An index may be praised or blamed, but rarely is the indexer named, lauded or shamed." This book, however, initiates a change. Hazel Bell presents here brief biographies of 65 individual practitioners, the makers of indexes, from the fifteenth to the twentieth century, considering their working methods, techniques, training, remuneration, their lives and their personalities.
After the biographical section on the "Lone Workers,' Bell outlines in "Banding Together" the history of groups and societies of indexers up to 1995, the year she sees as entailing the end of print-only indexing. The book includes photographs of indexers and of their tokens of recognition. Indexed by the author.