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Q. I am editing a dissertation for a client who wants to use an abbreviation “N.” in place of “Nietzsche” in a dissertation on Nietzsche. Her advisor said this is okay. I told her it is not okay, and that abbreviations, explained in a list of abbreviations, should be used only for titles of works or for author’s names if they are used in citations but not in the text itself. Am I right?
A. If the author’s dissertation advisor approves, I don’t see why we should object. After all, it’s possible that no one besides those two will even read this opus. But if the motive is merely to save typing that wretched name a million times, it would be easy enough to type “N.” and then replace all the initials with a global search-and-replace action. And if the work is ever revised for publication, the name should be spelled out.