I am confused whether to place the acronym before or after the words are spelled out. For example, the first time this organisation is mentioned, which of these alternatives is more correct:
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established in 1958.
NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration) was established in 1958.
My intuition is that the first seems more correct, but I am not sure. Any ideas? Also, if you could point me to an official style guide or similar which clarifies this, I would be very grateful.
Edit: The website Chicago manual style online has a Q&A section where the following is found:
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.
A. Yes, that’s a good system. Sometimes it’s helpful to repeat the full name in later chapters as a reminder. Occasionally, too, it makes sense to use the acronym first and put the full name in parentheses, if the acronym in question is so familiar to your expected audience that it almost goes without explication.