These three parts of the Cumulative Index represent the accumulated work of the 12 editors of the Rock Garden Quarterly and its various precursor publications. Some of these editors have highly professional editing skills. Others, and I am one of these, find editing to be a challenge to which they have to rise. Inevitably this means that different criteria may have been applied as to what warrants indexing. This presents few problems in the Author Index, relatively few in the Plant Index, but major problems in the Subject Index where the criteria that can be applied are so much more a matter of subjective judgement.
This is not a completely re-edited index with every reference having been checked through. Inevitably, there are errors in this index but the value of making it available online alongside the complete archive of issues seems clear despite any such errors. A group led by Ben Burr has been working for some time developing a three-part fully linked searchable index, and work is pretty much completed on the Author Index. This also involves complete updating of all references so that they can be linked electronically. Obviously their work will be invaluable but it will be a considerable time before the whole project is brought to fruition.
Even when the new index is complete and fully implemented I believe there will be value in a traditional index which allows browsing. I like to have the opportunity to browse an index alongside the valuable addition of a fully-linked index and I do not believe I am alone in this. This new index of almost 400 pages is not something that NARGS would publish on paper but electronically cost is not a problem. Alongside the online archive of our complete archive of publications, this represents a enormously valuable resource.
Hutton, January 2014
(Quarterly Editor from fall 2010 through spring 2017)