A system and method for indexing words in documents, the system including a master index for storing the words and for storing associated index data. One of the documents is selected for updating and is edited. Next, a shadow index is created. Each word from the selected edited document is then indexed in the shadow index. A fresh index table is updated to indicate that the shadow index contains the most up-to-date data regarding the selected edited document. Query requests will be processed by searching all relevant indexes and comparing the retrieved results with the data in the fresh index table. Only the most up-to-date data will actually be returned as the query results. Periodically, shadow indexes and the master index can be merged into a new master index. Only the most up-to-date data, as determined by a comparison with the fresh index table, will be stored in the new master index.