Don't use abbreviations or acronyms?

+19 votes
228 views
If WikiTree is to withstand the test of time and be accessible to non-native English speakers, shouldn't abbreviations and acronyms not be used or at least used as infrequently as possible?  I apologize for the double negative which should also be avoided.

I was always taught that if acronyms must be used, then they must be spelled out the first time they are used.  Some people insist that they must be spelled out the first time they are used in each page.  An acronym that is obvious or well-known to you is not necessarily known or obvious to me.  For example, LNAB was a mystery to me until finally someone took the time to spell it out as last name at birth (LNAB).

Once upon a time in the USA, we used different abbreviations for the names of States (I think the change was in the early 1970s).  To just be clear & withstand the test of time why not just spell out the name?  For example, It's ridiculous to write OH when you can write Ohio.
in Policy and Style by M B G2G4 (4.0k points)
retagged by Maggie N.
Writing out the state, province or shire name is the recommended Style on WikiTree.

5 Answers

+5 votes
I agree, especially as far as state names and for most acronyms.  I did get in the habit of not adding "county" or "township" because the post office seams to have dropped them.  And because they make locations so long they don't fit in the boxes to type them in.  But I may switch back without the Co. or Twp.  abbreviations.
by Dave Dardinger G2G6 Pilot (408k points)
That brings up a good question, Dave. What is the character limit on the location fields?

I, personally, always add (or I do now, anyway) township, county, etc because there are too many that are duplicated. For example, you might have a Township that is the same as the County name, and that makes a difference when searching for records.
+3 votes
by Anonymous Vickery G2G6 Pilot (240k points)
+9 votes

Wikitree style guide says:

"Use the full, written out place name for counties, states, provinces, d├ępartements, etc. Examples: Rhode Island, not RI; New Brunswick, not NB; Hampshire, not Hants; Seine-et-Marne, not S-M. Abbreviations of country names is acceptable as long as the abbreviation is standard and is recognizable."

So, OH = bad, USA = OK

by Chase Ashley G2G6 Pilot (217k points)
Chase, you should have written "USA = okay" - some of us may think you meant Oklahoma (OK)!!

Michael, you are SO correct. I remember when journalists actually did that - spelled out acronyms at least ONCE in their stories.

Ah, the good ole days, when O. was Ohio, Okla. was Oklahoma, and Ore. was Oregon!
I actually love writing out the entire word.  I had enough acronyms in the military. hahaha
If you are going to use an acronym or abbreviation in the text of a biography, I suppose you could always reference it the first time. For example -- RCMP<ref>Royal Canadian Mounted Police</ref>
+4 votes

Why not use tools inside Wikitree like categories and add a Ohio Category to the profile ==> 

  1. if the reader don't know what Ohio is he can learn more by clicking on the link
  2. if the reader would like to do more genealogy research he can get information about more good sources clicking on the link

On the Ohio category add resources available on the internet to explain locations so everyone understand add links to maps and wikipedia? For me doing genealogy isn't just getting location names and dates it's also a way of learn more about related subjects...

How Category Ohio looks today in Wikitree

 

What we have done to improve the coverage of Sweden on Wikitree

We are gather resources for all Swedish parishes that are useful to better understand and also resources useful for doing genealogy and create categories for them.

By connecting a profile to a Swedish Parish category you then get access to relevant information about the location good for genealogy...

Example: Grythyttan, Sweden
With a link to a parish map that explains the location

by C S G2G6 Pilot (274k points)
edited by C S
+7 votes
Thanks for asking this, Michael. I've seen a few recent posts about location abbreviations.

As others have pointed out, the stated WikiTree style is to use full names for locations, not abbreviations.

However, I don't think it's as important as some people might assume in terms of WikiTree standing "the test of time." Technology is making that test easier to pass. :-)

I think a good way to check whether a location name on WikiTree needs to be clarified is to click the Google Maps pin link next to it. If Google can find the location, it probably doesn't need to be clarified. It's likely that WikiTree will someday use Google's technology or something similar to translate location names into geographic coordinates.
by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)

Would also be nice to search after people using geolocation search. I saw that the elasticsearch supported that....

-----------

Google API getting coordinates ==> it undertand both Ohio and translate it to OH....

https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/geocode/json?address=Ohio

{
   "results" : [
      {
         "address_components" : [
            {
               "long_name" : "Ohio",
               "short_name" : "OH",
               "types" : [ "administrative_area_level_1", "political" ]
            },
            {
               "long_name" : "United States",
               "short_name" : "US",
               "types" : [ "country", "political" ]
            }
         ],
         "formatted_address" : "Ohio, USA",
         "geometry" : {
            "bounds" : {
               "northeast" : {
                  "lat" : 41.9773019,
                  "lng" : -80.51819999999999
               },
               "southwest" : {
                  "lat" : 38.4034229,
                  "lng" : -84.8203049
               }
            },
            "location" : {
               "lat" : 40.4172871,
               "lng" : -82.90712300000001
            },
            "location_type" : "APPROXIMATE",
            "viewport" : {
               "northeast" : {
                  "lat" : 41.9773019,
                  "lng" : -80.51819999999999
               },
               "southwest" : {
                  "lat" : 38.4034229,
                  "lng" : -84.8203049
               }
            }
         },
         "place_id" : "ChIJwY5NtXrpNogRFtmfnDlkzeU",
         "types" : [ "administrative_area_level_1", "political" ]
      }
   ],
   "status" : "OK"
}
Well, of course it probably isn't that important to people from North America, who were brought up with state abbreviations.  But, I'm afraid, it is rather important to those of us who don't live there.  I was comparing profiles the other day to see if they matched, and the new-to-me profile was born in a town in MA.  I had to go to Google and search for what on earth MA stood for.

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