What do you mean by the term indexing in relation to an office ?



The dictionary meaning of the term index denotes "a table of contents". The literary meaning of the term index denotes anything that gives an indication. It indicates the page where one finds a particular chapter. Indexing is the process of determining the name, subject or other caption under which the documents are to be filed. It is a guide to a body of data. The word indexing should not be considered as synonymous to classification. Classification refers to the method of arranging files whereas indexing is a method of making reference to files.

Indexing is an aid to filing as it serves as a guide to locate a particular file. Indexing is not only viewed as an aid to filing but also very much vital to filing. Both filing and indexing are so interrelated that it has been termed, as filing is meaningless without indexing. Alphabetical filing system does not require indexing because this system of filing is self- indexed.

There are six types of indexes used in big business houses. These are:

  • Book Index
  • Vowel Index
  • Loose-Leaf Book Index
  • Card Index
  • Fixed Index
  • Visible Index.

Book Index:

Book index is in the form of a book or register in which every page is allotted to an alphabet in English language. A tab bearing that alphabet is attached to that page. For example, a letter received from Ashok can be located in the page allotted for the letter 'A'. This index is otherwise called as bound index or ordinary page index.

Vowel Index:

Vowel index is a modified and improved form of book index, which follows the principles of vowel method of filing. Under this method each page reserved for one letter is divided into six subsections representing vowels like (A, E, I, O, U and Y).

The letter received from "Sham" will be located in the page 'S' in the column reserved for 'A' because a is the first vowel.

Loose Leaf Book Index:

Loose-leaf book index is an improvement over book index where single sheets are fitted into metal hinges. These sheets form a part of basis of index. New sheets are added by unscrewing the sheets. Similarly, the unwanted sheets are removed without any difficulty. Under this method, separate sheet is used to record each alphabet.

Card Index:

The system of card indexing was propagated by Abb'e Jean Rozier (1734—93). The index is prepared by allotting a separate card to each piece of information. All the details required information are written on the card. The cards are arranged in alphabetical, numerical or geographical order. The cards are placed hi the cabinet in such a manner that they overlap one another and the edge of each card is exposed to outside.

Fixed Index:

Instead of maintaining a separate index for ledger and other books maintained by a company, an index may be revealed in the book concerned. Thus, a bound book register is maintained for recording the correspondence. When different personal ledgers are maintained at different pages of the book, an index is given at the beginning of the book indicating the page where different ledgers are maintained. This is known as fixed index. This is also called as self-type index.

Visible Index:

Visible card index follows the principles of visible record of filing. Under this system, the cards are laid flat in the metal trays. Each card is attached to a metal hinge and cards are kept in such a manner that one card overlaps the others. The placement of card indicate the name, address and other particulars without touching a card. Since these information can be collected without touching the card, this is called visible card index.