Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading

Q. I’m creating a name index for a book on the history of Japanese imperial rule, which is heavy on references to Japanese deities. The deities are discussed numerous times in connection with the early Japanese emperors, for example as part of the first emperor’s lineage. I believe only people should be in the name index, but are there any exceptions, such as this one?

A. If you are the author of the book, you get to decide what to put in your index. If you’re writing the index for someone else, that person is the best one to decide. If deities are to be included, you might rename the index “Index of Persons and Deities.” Or you could have a separate glossary of deities. Don’t worry about conventions and exceptions. Think about what the readers of this book will need, and then create it for them.