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ISO: thumb indents?

From the contact form:

Please, I would like to know the term used for the “thumb indents” found in older hardbound dictionaries, one at the start of each new letter. Also, was making these indents considered part of the binding process, and how was it accomplished?

Robin Atkins



  1. I think the term is “thumb index.” Here at the U.S Government Printing Office, we had (and have) machines to cut them and apply the labels. I can provide photos if you send me an email address.

  2. Paul Moxon, Website Editor 22 February, 2018 at 10:55 am

    At my request, George has spun the answer into an article here:

  3. And the Agency Historian is again blushing — we are now called the U.S. Government Publishing Office.

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