Dennis Duncan 2021. Index, A History of the. Allen Lane, 340 pp.

A light-hearted ramble through the index and it’s history. Needless to say there is a great index, but needful to say that a great index is very much needed. Somewhat too much of a ramble now and then, in that the author loves to stray through the background of his material. He also seems oblivious to the knowledge that gratuitous italics warns against many an author. Still enjoyable and much to learn, such as that subject index - distinctio - began about 1230 and thus predated the word index by several centuries. Duncan states that the index began and was only possible once books were bound into a codex. However I’m sure i’ve read that Sumerians had indexing system for their tablets. The first book with printed page numbers was published in 1470, although long before then chapters, leaves or other parts were used for concordances etc. The first index was somewhere between, although what rates as a concordance verses a distinctio tabula or an index seems debatable. Interestingly I was unable to use the index to Index to find out when the first index was published.