One person has an idea; a group likes the idea; another person volunteers or is volunteered without really knowing what is involved. Isn’t that how many things get done? The idea was a 25 year index for TSLL (Technical Services Law Librarian); the group was the TSLL Board; the volunteer was me, later joined by Virginia Bryant.
For many of us, TSLL is the best publication we receive. An index seemed a great way to honor its 25-year history. I had some indexing experience from working on the AALL Recordings index and the Arkansas Legal Index. But this was a much different project. With a Joint Research Grant for $790, I was able to buy two copies of the highly recommended indexing software, Cindex, in 2002. Without it, the TSLL Index would have been almost impossible. As it was, the indexing took us so long to do that when we completed it in 2007, it had become a 30-year index.
Receipt of this one-time grant continues to reap benefits, because I use the software for other indexing projects. After converting the AALL Recordings index to Cindex, the process of creating its annual update shortened by several days. In the last few years, I used the software to create indexes for six Arkansas Bar Association handbooks and treatises — something I probably would not have volunteered to do without Cindex.
Though Virginia and I often wondered why we took on this huge project, we never doubted the value of the software provided by the grant. The grant process was a simple one. We had to report our progress each of the five years it took to complete the project, but that was also extremely easy. Could it have been a better experience? Only if the OBS/TS Joint Research Grant Committee could have added an eighth day to every week.