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I'm writing a report for my master thesis and I'm pretty unsure when to use italics. I have found some guidelines in the internet but I still have some questions.

I'm using abbreviations like ROC for receiver operating characteristics and AUC for area under the curve or CSV for comma separated values. These abbreviations are in common use but I'm also using my own defined abbreviations.

Should the abbreviations be given in italic?

Second, currently I make algorithm names, like RelieF, italic. Is this correct? ReliefF is the name of an algorithm presented in a paper.

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  • The exception to the below answer is that abbreviations of foreign origin should be italicized— e.g., "e.g.," "i.e.," "et al.," "ibid.," "etc.," etc. However, in recent decades many style guides either say this is not necessary or fail to mention its necessity. – Rubellite Fae Dec 20 '19 at 19:53
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Your question boils down to what style guide you should be using. That's really a question for your thesis adviser or academic adviser.

Failing that, I'll share AP style: On the first use, you write it out, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses.

Scientists from the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) announced today...

After that first use you simply use the abbreviation.

NASA has been investigating the matter since...

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  • Thanks for your answer. So you would neither use italic for the abbreviation nor for the algorithm name? – machinery Jul 15 '16 at 12:24
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    No, I would not. – G. Ann - SonarSource Team Jul 15 '16 at 13:59

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