Acronyms Anonymous

I just finished editing a paper on the pre-launch and in-orbit calibrations of a sensor package on board a NASA Earth Observing System satellite. Space projects are known for their use of acronyms, and I’m impressed: this paper managed to employ the following 62 acronyms.

AIRS AMSR-E AMSU AOI ASTER AU AVHRR BB BBR BCS BRF CERES CZCS EOS ESE EV FEL FM1 FOV FPA HIRS HSB IAC IFOV L1B LSF LUT LWIR MISR MODIS MOPITT MTF NASA NFR NIR NIST NOAA NPOESS NPP OBC OOB PFM PV RSB RSR RVS SD SDS SDSM SIS SIS-100 SMIR SNR SpMA SRCA SV TDI TEB TOA TV VIIRS VIS

Many sentences read like this:

This paper primarily focuses on the radiometric calibration of MODIS SB by the SD/SDSM system and the TEB by the OBC BB.

Fun, no?

4 thoughts on “Acronyms Anonymous

  1. Well, part of my job as an editor is to make sure that each acronym is defined the first time it is used. That usually keeps the paper readable. But in a paper such as this, it becomes quite hard for the reader to keep all the acronyms inside his/her head.

    For longer documents, such as a report, thesis, or book, the author usually provides a glossary that the reader can refer to.

  2. Don’t forget, too, that for those of us who use certain acronyms often, the acronym becomes the fastest way to generate the concept in the head of our listener. I can’t expect a newcomer to networking to understand a STP convergence issue immediately, or know a TCP from a UDP, but most users of these abbreviations don’t actually know their true meanings, only what they “mean” to them in the context.

    In short: a newcomer is completely bogged down by acronyms, but after a while, they do optimize the communication (Thought/syllable, like SNR)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.