There are many complex acronyms that aren't necessarily built from the beginning letter of each sub-unit syllable or word (examples at the end of this post). Sometimes these terms are so common making it clear doesn't matter. But when defining your own new acronyms for use in a formal publication, whats the best way to help the reader see the selection of letters that is part of the much easier to use acronym?
A point of clarification: I am not specifically talking about acronyms like "laser" or "scuba" as these have become ubiquitous and even better known than the sequence they actually represent and seem to rarely be defined. I want to reiterate that I am inventing an acronym, and want it clear what combination of letters was selected in the creation of this so that it remains relatively easy to use. I won't go so far as to say I want it to catch on, but that doesn't mean it hasn't made it easier to use.
I see two options:
- emphasizing the capitals (though this can really look funny, and in science, could even change the meaning, so it's probably not a universal solution, but in cases when it doesn't change the meaning would this really be desirable?)
- use bolds, but really don't think any editor would keep this...
Here are some examples taken from wikipedia and presented with my interpretations of capitals, bolds, and how in a scientific context they may not end up being equivalent:
- Interpol = International Criminal Police Organization = INTERnational Criminal POLice Organization
- Gestapo = Geheime Staatspolizei = GEheime STAatsPOlizei
- Amphetamine = alpha-methylphenethylamine != Alpha-MethylPHenEThylAMINE