Can indexing tasks be outsourced, and what are the considerations for doing so?

Indexing tasks in DITA documentation can indeed be outsourced to external professionals or agencies, which can offer certain advantages. However, there are key considerations to keep in mind when outsourcing indexing tasks:

Expertise: Ensure that the outsourcing agency or professional has expertise in DITA XML and understands the specific domain or industry your documentation pertains to. Familiarity with the subject matter is crucial for accurate and relevant indexing.

Communication: Effective communication is vital. Clearly define your requirements, preferred indexing guidelines, and terminology. Regular communication and feedback loops are necessary to align the outsourced work with your expectations.

Quality Control: Implement a robust quality control process to review and validate the outsourced index. This should involve internal subject matter experts to verify the accuracy and relevance of index entries.

Data Security: Ensure that sensitive or proprietary information in your documentation is handled securely by the outsourcing agency, respecting data privacy and confidentiality agreements.

Contractual Agreements: Clearly define the terms and expectations in a contractual agreement with the outsourcing agency. This should include project timelines, deliverables, and dispute resolution mechanisms.


Suppose your company is outsourcing the indexing of a DITA-based user manual for a medical device. You hire a professional indexing agency that specializes in medical documentation. In your contractual agreement, you define the terminology, indexing guidelines, and a timeline for the project. You also include a clause regarding the secure handling of patient data mentioned in the manual.

<!– Example of outsourcing DITA indexing –>

  <title>Medical Device User Manual Index</title>
    <primary>Patient Data Security</primary>
    <primary>Device Operation</primary>

In this example, outsourcing the indexing to a specialized agency helps ensure that the DITA index is relevant and accurate for the medical device user manual.