Super-short Citations: Effective or Offputting?

 
 
 

3 March 2014

If source citations are to be effective, they should be easy to grasp, easy to remember, and easy to match to the full reference. One commonly seen way to reduce keystrokes in typing citations, is to use initialisms for frequently cited repositories and sources. However, few readers can—or care to—retain a mental directory of KVR, QVRPX, LCTV, BWPC, LSNI, PMXE, and a dozen other mixtures of alphabet soup. Even if we include a preface or an appendix that lists each initialism or acronym, together with the full name of the repository or source that it represents, most people who make image copies of a page with citations will NOT backtrack to the start or end of a piece of writing to copy that "key" to our alphabet soup.

EE 2.45 offers further guidance on short citations.