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RE: proposed new definitions for abbreviation and acronym

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Sat, 17 Sep 2005 13:47:54 -0500
Message-ID: <6EED8F7006A883459D4818686BCE3B3B01EA39ED@MAIL01.austin.utexas.edu>
To: "Roberto Scano \(IWA/HWG\)" <rscano@iwa-italy.org>, <gez.lemon@gmail.com>, <Becky_Gibson@notesdev.ibm.com>
Cc: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>, <w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org>

Roberto writes:
I suggest to use this:
"A mechanism for finding the expanded form of abbreviations is

Note: initialism [definition] and acronym [definition] are special kind
of abbreviation.

This seems a cleaner solution than adding "initialisms" to the SC. The
Glossary would define all three terms (abbreviation, acronym,
initialism). The Guide would then point to appropriate general and
technology-specific techniques.

Gez, would this address your concerns?


"Good design is accessible design."

Dr. John M. Slatin, Director 
Accessibility Institute
University of Texas at Austin 
FAC 248C 
1 University Station G9600 
Austin, TX 78712 
ph 512-495-4288, fax 512-495-4524 
email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu 
Web http://www.utexas.edu/research/accessibility 

-----Original Message-----
From: Roberto Scano (IWA/HWG) [mailto:rscano@iwa-italy.org] 
Sent: Friday, September 16, 2005 2:12 PM
To: John M Slatin; gez.lemon@gmail.com; Becky_Gibson@notesdev.ibm.com
Cc: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org; w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org
Subject: RE: proposed new definitions for abbreviation and acronym

Hi John. All depends if we want detailed explanation of the terms.

I suggest to use this:
"A mechanism for finding the expanded form of abbreviations is

Note: initialism [definition] and acronym [definition] are special kind
of abbreviation.

----- Messaggio originale -----
    Da: "John M Slatin"<john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
    Inviato: 16/09/05 19.48.16
    A: "gez.lemon@gmail.com"<gez.lemon@gmail.com>,
    Cc: "WCAG"<w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>,
    Oggetto: RE: proposed new definitions for abbreviation and acronym
    Gez wrote:
    I think the definitions should accurately reflect the generally
    meaning of the words, with the guide document illustrating (or
    to) advisory techniques, such as writing out in full any
    in the main content the first time they're used, and marking up
    subsequent abbreviations using the appropriate element. Other
    might suggest providing a glossary of abbreviations, or glossary of
    terms that include abbreviations used in the content. I definitely
    the problem should be moved to techniques, rather than redefining
    Gez, there's been no *intent* to redefine words or define them
    incorrectly! Frankly, I had never heard the term "initialism"
    but now you and Christophe have both brought it to our attention.
    I've now looked up both "acronym" and "initialism" in three
    (Merriam-Webster, Compact Oxford English Dictionary, and American
    Heritage Dictionary of the English Language).  They're not
    consistent (I've pasted in the definitions below), and it seems to
    that the definitions Becky proposed do actually fall within
    accepted usage, at least in the US.  However, I would have no
    including the term "initialism" in the tdefinition and/or the
    criterion if doing so would clarify the scope of the success
    I think The 30 June 2005 draft of the Guide to WCAG 2.0 Guideline
    Level 3 Success Criterion 3 lists the techniques you're suggesting
    above.  The draft Guide document is available at
    A little bit of history for others who may be wondering why we're
    spending so much time on this issue.
    - WCAG 1.0 includes a checkpoint (4.2, Priority 3) which requires
    acronyms are expanded.
    - The current Working Draft of WCAG 2.0 (30 June 2005) includes a
    success criterion (Guideline 3.1 Level 3 Success Criterion 3)
    that "A mechanism for finding the expanded form of acronyms and
    abbreviations is available."
    In short, the word "acronym" appears in normative content so it's
    probably a good idea to define it.
    For what it's worth, Merriam-Webster appears to treat one sense of
    "acronym" as synonymous with both "abbreviation" and "initialism".
    is their definition of "acronym":
    : a word (as NATO, radar, or snafu) formed from the initial letter
    letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound
    term; also :
    an abbreviation (as FBI) formed from initial letters :
    Merriam-Webster also defines "initialism" as a kind of acronym:

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Received on Saturday, 17 September 2005 18:47:59 UTC

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