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How indexes help organize our world

Conceptual image of birds flying open book.
Gregoria Gregoriou Crowe fine ar/Getty Images
Moment RF
Indexes help us find information in books, and on the internet.

Chances are you’ve probably used an index at the back of the book at some point in your life. But how much thought have you given to their creation, their function, and their history?

Our guest this hour has written a whole book on the topic. Dennis Duncan, author of Index, A History of the: A Bookish Adventure from Medieval Manuscripts to the Digital Age, joins us, along with a professional indexer, to tell you more than you ever thought to wonder about the role of indexes in our world.

Plus, we get mixed up in the world of cookbook indexes.


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The Colin McEnroe Show is available as a podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe and never miss an episode!

Colin McEnroe, Eugene Amatruda, and Jonathan McNicol contributed to this show.

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Lily is the senior producer for The Colin McEnroe Show. She first worked at Connecticut Public as an intern in 2014. She has previously worked for WBUR, KUNC and as a producer for the New England News Collaborative's weekly show Next. Lily can be reached at ltyson@ctpublic.org.