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Given that I must address a university by abbreviation, say call the University of X simply X, for some given X, and that there is no official abbreviation for the name of this university, what is a safe strategy to call this university?

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    Why you "must"? – 299792458 Oct 27 '14 at 6:52
  • @New_new_newbie: Well, if my answer to your question is necessary for your answer to my question, then please tell me and I will provide one. But if not, then, since this is a hypothetical situation, please kindly simply provide a solution if you would love to :) – Megadeth Oct 27 '14 at 7:27
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    I'm not having a jab here, just asking for more information. Having this information will go a long way in clarifying your question, so that people shall know what kind of answer do you want. Without this information, I would say, why not "Univ. X" only? – 299792458 Oct 27 '14 at 7:30
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    If there is no official or widely-known abbreviation, then there is no safe strategy for abbreviating the name. If you literally must abbreviate it (for example, in a form with insufficient space, as chipbuster suggests), then you just do the best you can, knowing that it may look a little weird. Some parts can be handled reasonably systematically, such as "Univ. X", but if X is long then that part may have no obvious abbreviation. I'd imagine that just about every university with a long, awkward name has a standard abbreviation (such as UIUC), though. – Anonymous Mathematician Oct 27 '14 at 8:03
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    That's probably because saying Boston doesn't necessarily imply Boston University. There is a Boston College there too, plus God knows what else. Or what not (too many institutions in the Boston area!) – 299792458 Oct 27 '14 at 9:14
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  1. Do not do this. Especially since there are often many smaller universities that you do not know about that partially or entirely share the same name. For example, does "Rochester" refer to University of Rochester or Rochester Institute of Technology? Does "University of Massachusetts" refer to the well-known research campus in Amherst, or the very distinct and semi-separate institutions in Lowell, Boston, Worcester, or Dartmouth?

  2. If you are forced to, ask Wikipedia, which will generally have an accepted shortened version in its article (e.g., "UMass Amherst"). If there is no Wikipedia article, then it's definitely not notable enough to abbreviate.

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