birding-aus Acronyms (SIPO, etc) - a late contribution to the discussion

Subject: birding-aus Acronyms (SIPO, etc) - a late contribution to the discussion.
From: Dr Richard Nowotny <>
Date: Thu, 04 Feb 1999 17:21:39 +1100

Surely all of us work (or play) in areas where acronyms, abbreviations and
in-house terminology are commonplace and a normal part of the day's
transactions (certainly I do in Medicine!).  They are not wrong, they are
not intimidating (except to those not yet "in the know"), they make work a
little faster and they can even be fun.  They can of course be used to
create an inappropriate sense of "us" and "them" and to pretend we are more
important and special than we really are.  Used wisely they are a
convenience and even a boon to our everday use of the language.  Used
inappropriately they can confound and alienate.
In science generally - and I can see no reason why Birding-aus shouldn't
see itself as at least partly "scientific" - the first use of an acronym or
an abbreviation (which is not in the public domain) in an article or
reference should always be followed by the full name or phrase - eg. "SIPO
(South Island Pied Oystercatcher)", possibly also followed by the
scientific name, and thereafter the acronym or abbreviation can be used for
convenience without alienation, irritation or loss of understanding - in
fact it becomes a source of increasingly widespread general understanding
and use of the acronym or abbreviation.
Why don't we try that here (as elsewhere) and avoid the debate as to
whether we "should" or "shouldn't" use such abbreviated forms?
(Thus endeth this mini-sermon.)

From:    Dr Richard Nowotny,
             Melbourne, Australia.
             Tel. (w) 61-3-9214.1420

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