I am part of a team wrapping up work on a humanities project whose title is more conveniently used as an acronym. Because that acronym is not universally known but we want to encourage its use, the consensus at this point is to print the abbreviated form along with the full title in the how-to-cite recommendations for our project website. However, there are different ideas as to how such a sequence is best styled. One draft citation that crossed my desk had the format

"SODOFF = Some Online Database of Facts and Figures," ed. by ....

whereas in my documentation drafts I had entered the acronym as the title and its resolution as the subtitle in my biblatex database, yielding

"SODOFF: Some Online Database ..."

One can argue over whether the resolution can strictly be considered a subtitle, but the most apt biblatex solution that comes to mind, to enter the full form as the title and the acronym into the shorttitle field, is not intended to print both side by side but e.g. the full form on first occurrence and the short form thereafter, while the "equals"-notation printed above is not without objection either because it entails entering two distinct entities and a delimiter into a single field.

I'm curious what conventions exist, particularly in Chicago style but also more broadly in the humanities and out in the world of acronym projects specifically. Does any style guide account for such a case? Is equals-notation in fact de rigueur in actual (anglophone!) usage, is subtitle style more common, or should we abandon the side-by-side model and recommend that the full title be used on first mention and the abbreviation in subsequent citations?

  • 2
    Isn't parentheses the most common way to label an acronym?
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented May 11 at 1:52


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