Eat Your Books

Member Indexers Administration Manual

At Eat Your Books we are a bit fanatical about the quality of our data, and so are our members, so it's important to make sure you are as accurate as possible and adhere to EYB's guidelines.

It's important to read through this guide BEFORE you start indexing as it gives an overview of what's expected. (The most recently added or updated information is highlighted in yellow.) Having read these guidelines, please let EYB know if you do not feel you can index a book so we can unassign the book and make it available to another member.  

If a book is not started within 14 days of being assigned, it will be unassigned.

In addition to this overview, there is a ? next to each data entry field on the input form; click on this for a detailed explanation of how to complete that field.  Before entering each field for the first time, you should review these instructions and refer to them regularly while indexing.  The complete indexing manual can be found here: Indexing Form Instructions, and it can also be accessed on the input form by clicking the Help (?) button. 

NOTE:  This Administration Manual describes how to make a request to index a book, what is required, and an overview of the mechanics of EYB indexing.  It DOES NOT explain indexing rules or the philosophy behind indexing: how to format English and foreign titles, how to categorize recipes, how to decide which ingredients to list and which to omit, how to deal with accompaniments versus recipes within recipes, etc.  Indexers should consult the Indexing Form Instructions for complete descriptions and illustrations of EYB's indexing guidelines. To help you get started, here's a quick list of the most common mistakes new indexers make:

Do's and Don'ts of Indexing -- How to Avoid the Top 10 Indexing Mistakes

  1. DON'T capitalize every word in the recipe title. DO capitalize the first word and any proper nouns, place names, words capitalized in EYB ingredient names, etc. --more info 
  2. DO put the English title first, followed by any foreign-language title after it in parentheses (with the first word of each title capitalized), no matter how it appears in the book.  -- more info
  3. DO check the Recipe Types List for how to categorize many common recipes by Recipe Type, Ethnicity, Course, and Nutrition, plus capitalization of many words in titles. 
  4. DON'T list the common pantry ingredients that fall below the thresholds in the Store-Cupboard Ingredients Table, unless they're in the recipe title. 
  5. DON'T list the special ingredient 'store-cupboard ingredients' unless the number of omitted store-cupboard ingredients is more than half the total number of ingredients in the recipe or more than half the total volume of the recipe.  If less than half, just omit them. -- more info
  6. DO categorize recipes as Vegetarian (and Vegan, where applicable) according to the definitions in the Indexing Form Instructions and the guidelines in the Recipe Types List.  DO index both Vegetarian and Vegan if applicable wherever the Recipe Types List indicates that both are to be indexed. -- more info
  7. DON'T make recipes Accompaniments unless they're served in the same Course/alongside each other. DO make Accompaniments reciprocal. --► more info
  8. DO check the Indexing Form Instructions for special guidelines about certain ingredients, like fresh citrus juice/zest/peel (index the whole fruit, 'lemons', 'oranges', etc.), chocolate (index bittersweet/semisweet as 'dark chocolate'), and common fruits/vegetables (not every variety is indexed). -- more info
  9. DON'T put public notes about recipes in the Indexer Notes field; DO put them in EYB Comments, and only use Indexer Notes for communicating with EYB staff.  DON'T over-comment in the EYB Comments field.  DO follow EYB's standard format for substitution comments -- "Can substitute A for B, and C for D." -- and close all comments with a period. --► more info
  10. DO proofread your work carefully!   And one more for good measure...
  11. DO read and refer to the Indexing Form Instructions for complete indexing guidelines!

How Member Indexing Works

Requirements for indexing your books

How to request to index a cookbook in the EYB Library

Once a book has been assigned to you

Indexing Recipes Submitting a book to EYB on completion

Useful Lists to have open while indexing:  

Requirements for Indexing

Make sure you have the latest version of your web browser installed. 
  • The EYB online data entry interface was optimized for Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox on PCs, but should display and function correctly on most major browsers for PC and Mac; if you experience problems with the data entry form, try updating your browser, or switch to a different browser for your particular platform.
  • You should be familiar with how to add accents to characters, as many recipe titles incorporate foreign words that use accents.  Without these being added correctly, a word can take on quite a different meaning: pâté (meat paste) vs. pâte (pastry).
More detailed Information
  • PC users have several options, but the easiest way to insert accents is to use the Character Map utility built into Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 7).  Find it here:
                  Start » Programs » Accessories » System Tools » Character Map
    It's a good idea to add the Character Map to your Start menu (right click on Character Map and select 'Pin to Start Menu') for easy access. 
  • Mac users can use Option keys or the KeyCaps desk accessory located under the Apple menu.

How to request to index a cookbook in the EYB Library

Log in as usual to Eat Your Books.

  1. Select the book you wish to index and click the "Request Index" link under the book cover image.
  2. Under "I would like to Index this book myself," click the Request to Index button. EYB will send you an email when the book has been assigned to you.

    NOTE: Member indexers may only be assigned one title to index at a time.


Once a book has been assigned to you

You will be sent an email by EYB to let you know that a book has been assigned to you.

Click on the link in the email and you will be taken to the input form, OR...

  1. Select "Indexing" from the My Bookshelf tab at the top of the page.
  2. Check that the 13-digit ISBN, the Book Title, and Author/s match the book you are indexing. If not, please notify the Data Manager ( before starting to index the book so that any errors can be corrected.
  3. Click on "Index" to the right of the title of the book, which will take you to the input form.

Entering recipes

The data input form has been designed for easy and quick inputting of data. Your input speed will significantly improve once you become familiar with the form, the shortcuts, and the drop-down menus. Very often it's only necessary to type the first few letters of any selection.

  1. The recipe title is the first field; use Tab to go to the next field.
  2. It is important that you read the Help file (click on the ? next to each field) before you enter your first recipe to understand exactly how it works.
  3. In the variable selection fields you will see a list of options once you start typing.
  4. If you make a mistake the (x) next to each entry will delete it.
  5. Once you have completed a recipe and checked it, click on " Save and New" to go to a blank data entry form.

Categorizing recipes

Most recipes should be categorized by a pre-defined list of Recipe Types.  When indexing your recipes, it is important that you use the categorizations as defined by EYB, otherwise there will be many inconsistencies across books indexed by members.    

The Recipe Types List will assist you in deciding how recipes should be categorized.   Although the list is organized by Recipe Types, it also has valuable notes about other categories such as Ethnicity, Course, Nutrition, and Occasion.  We suggest you keep this open on your computer so you can search it while you are indexing.   See Recipe Types List.

Adding Ingredients

The Ingredients field is fully searchable and will accept as many ingredients as need to be listed for a recipe. NOTE: Ingredients do not need to be entered in the order in which they appear in the recipe, in order of importance, or any particular order. In fact, missed ingredients and other ingredients added after the recipe is first indexed will show up at the bottom of the list of ingredients.

  • Shortcuts: For some commonly encountered ingredients, EYB has created 2-character “shortcut” codes.  e.g. ‘lb’ = ‘light brown sugar'.  Your data input speed will increase significantly once you are familiar with these codes. See Shortcut codes list  
  • Entering an ingredient:  Once you enter at least 3 characters of the ingredient name, the system will display a drop-down of the first 30 ingredients that match. All fruit and vegetables are entered as plurals.
    You can either scroll down to the ingredient you want or continue to type until the ingredient comes to the top of the list, then press Enter to select that ingredient. 
    NOTE: An ingredient is not added until it moves out of the box and displays in the Ingredients list above the box with a delete sign (x) next to it.
  • Deleting an ingredient: If you select an incorrect ingredient, delete it by clicking the (x) next to the ingredient. 

Ingredient name variations - regional and spelling

Some ingredient names differ significantly depending on the country/cuisine.   In these cases, EYB has created a master ingredient with one or more linked variations.

  • Regional variation:  e.g. “eggplants” in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are called “aubergines” in the UK. 
  • Spelling variation:  e.g. the herb mix za’atar can also appear in recipes as zaatar, zahtar, and zathar, among other spellings.

Indexers should list the ingredient that appears in the recipe, so that users will see “aubergines” listed in recipes from UK cookbooks.

In the example below, the master ingredient is beets, with a variation beetroots (1).   The variation ‘beetroots’ is being selected and will display in the recipe on EYB, but users searching for either ‘beets' or ‘beetroots’ will find this recipe.

Copying ingredients from a previous recipe

Recipes often have several variation recipes that should be indexed separately, and the ingredient lists are very similar.  You can copy all the ingredients from the previous recipe into the current one, by clicking 'Add from previous'.  Delete any unneeded ingredients by clicking the (x) next to the ingredient name, and add new ones as previously described.

Requesting new ingredients

Although there are more than 37,000 ingredients listed in the EYB database, new ones still occasionally need to be added.  Once you're sure the ingredient you want to index doesn't exist, enter new ingredient as an ingredient and type the name of the ingredient in the New Ingredients box.  Provide any information available about the new ingredient(s) in the Indexer Notes field.  
If you know that an ingredient that's used throughout the book is missing, then send an email to to request that it be added while you're still indexing the book.

Saving a recipe

After you have completed your recipe and reviewed it, click 'Save & New' to save your record and call up a new data entry form.  The system will automatically assign a Sort Order value on the new form to maintain recipes in book order. 

Ending/resuming a data entry session

If you wish to end a data entry session before you've finished indexing all the recipes in the book, be sure to click 'Save & New' on your last recipe so that your screen shows a blank data entry form.  
When you resume your data entry the system will take you to the next blank data entry form where you left off.

Proofreading and editing recipes

You should proofread each recipe before you save it and move on to the next. 

  • You should check spellings, category types and correct ingredients.
  • Once you move to the next recipe, review any fields that have been carried over.  Delete anything that doesn't match the current recipe.
  • You should also do a final proofread once you've completed the book and before you submit it to EYB.  Review your recipes one-by-one. 

Inserting a missed/new recipe

  • If you find that you've missed a recipe, you should insert it into its correct position.  Find the recipe before it, note its Sort Order number, and give the new recipe that number plus 5,  e.g. if the missed recipe should have been at number 90, you would look at the recipe before, which will be 80, and make the one you missed 85. 
  • If you missed several recipes, then number them from the previous number plus 1, 2, etc.; in this way, you can enter up to 9 missed recipes between any two recipes in the book.

Editing and deleting recipes

If you find that you need to edit or delete a recipe – you may discover an error or duplicate recipe during final review/proofreading – use the Recipes Added list to find the recipe.

  1. Use the filter to find the recipe in the 'Recipes Added' list. 
    To edit the recipe, click on the title and it will show in the input form above. 
  2. To delete a recipe, click on the (x) in the Action column to the right of the recipe’s title. 

Submitting a book to EYB on completion

When you’ve finished indexing a book and have proofread it, click on the Submit button.

The book will then be reviewed by EYB before it appears on the live site. 

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