Abbreviations

Q. I hope you can resolve a dispute between me and my editor. After introducing an acronym, e.g., “Bureau of Land Management,” to “BLM,” I like to drop the “the” in introducing it. For example, I think the least awkward way is to say “BLM is charged with the oversight of . . .” as opposed to “The BLM is . . .” Do you have any rule that covers this issue?

Q. More often in bibliographic citations, I am seeing the abbreviations s.l. and s.n. in place of n.p. where the place and/or publisher are unknown. What do these abbreviations mean, and are they likely to take over n.p.?

Q. We have a new employee who holds two PhDs. She insists on having her name listed as “Jane Doe, PhD, PhD.” We are in a university environment and agree that degrees are important, but doesn’t this seem a bit much?

Q. I work for a technical magazine. I’ve always been taught that when it comes to acronyms, the rule is you spell out the words first followed by the acronym in parentheses, and then use the acronym for later references in the copy. If there are no other mentions of the acronym later in the copy, then you just spell it out without the acronym in parentheses. Is this correct? My coworker is debating this with me. Thanks!!!!!!!

Q. I’m editing an army paper, and they put EVERYTHING in caps, which I reduce to lowercase when possible. Is the following okay, or do the spelled-out names get lowercased in such cases? “For analysis purposes, the Fatigue-Avoidance Scheduling Tool (FAST), based on the Sleep, Activity, Fatigue, and Task-Effectiveness (SAFTE) model. . . .”

Q. What if Turabian says to use periods with A.D. and B.C. but CMOS recommends no periods—when Turabian is the guide specified for a thesis?

Q. Most people no longer use a typewriter and carbon paper when making a copy of a letter. Does that mean that “cc” should now be just “c”?

Q. Should a noun that is represented by an acronym be initial capped upon first reference, e.g., ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) vs. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)? Also, would this noun be initial capped (sans acronym) throughout the rest of the document?

Q. Hello, another question from New Zealand. I am unsure as to the rules for spelling out what abbreviations stand for. In the passage I am proofreading, we refer to the DSD and the BPD, which stand for the design strategy document and the business process document, respectively. Am I right in thinking these should be lowercase when written in full?

Q. I am editing a book in which the author uses one acronym to refer to a term that can have two different endings. For example, BE would be used for “book editor” and “book editing.” Sample sentences: “BE is a complicated process. As a BE, one can make a million dollars.” How should I handle this? How would you spell out the acronym on first mention? (I am working on the second edition, and the use of the one acronym was accepted for the first edition.)