Jargon, Shorthand & All Their Ilk



14 August 2014

Researchers are expected to learn the conventions of each area in which they work. They need to learn not only the records, but also the quirks of the time and place. With experience, they learn the common abbreviations and the slang, as well as the other nuts and bolts of the craft as it applies to specific regions.

While new researchers are pursuing that education, they are also making assumptions. In this Internet age, odds are also good that they will be broadcasting their assumptions before they build a solid knowledge base.

It is good to remember this every time we write and cite. When we use personal shorthand, cryptic codes, and jargon newer researchers do not understand, we run the risk of being misunderstood. Those misunderstandings will be perpetuated forever in cyberspace. Always, even in the most casual writing, clarity is far more important than saving space or appearing to be "in the know" about esoteric matters.


Photo credits: "Jargon Concept," CanStockPhoto (http://www.canstockphoto.com/images-photos/truth.html#file_view.php?id=10909966 : downloaded 4 August 2014), used under license.

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