Periods after abbreviations

Tom Kysilko pds at VISI.COM
Mon Jun 28 21:21:48 UTC 2004

Quoting Damien Hall <halldj at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU>:
> To confuse the picture further, in Britain at least the inclusion of the
> 'correct' period is coming more and more to be seen as too fussy and
> obscuring
> 'real meaning' at the expense of emphasising personal 'scholarliness' in the
> worst sense.  Instead, in business communications, the tendency is towards
> what's called 'open', ie 'no', punctuation, so:

When abbreviations -- and initials -- are part of names and addresses, in the
government and business worlds at least, these items are likely to be funneled
through electronic databases at one point or another, where the use of any
punctuation is strongly discouraged for numerous reasons.  (An exception to
this rule seems to be hyphenated surnames.)  To name a couple:
--Teaching automated processes that "St. Paul" = "St Paul" is less efficient
than just removing the periods from the data.
--Programmers and database designers have appropriated punctuation symbols for
their own purposes.  Allowing these symbols in data risks confusion or worse.
For example, a comma-delimited data file (in which one data element is
separated from the next by a comma) can be rendered unintelligible if the data
itself has commas.

These reasons hold on both sides of the Atlantic.

--Tom Kysilko
  Practical Data Services
  St Paul MN

More information about the Ads-l mailing list