Driveby observation on acronyms and initialisms

Three SUNY groups came up in a meeting this morning:

  1. The SUNY Council of Library Directors
  2. The SUNY Moodle Users Group
  3. The SUNY Chief Academic Officers

When you treat them as initialisms, they become, respectively in our communal awareness, SCLD, SMUG, and “the CAOs”.

If you read them aloud as acronyms, instead, they become “scold”, “smug”, and “chaos”.

Man, we are just not doing ourselves any favors! We complain, as a profession, about library-specific vocabulary, and the acronym soup that plagues us, but I’m realizing that it’s not just libraries — it’s academia. I think it’s time to come up with some initialisms and acronyms — or simply names — that say something intelligent and otherwise indicative of success and positive impact. Because I just flatly refuse to refer to the group of which I am Chair as “Scold”. (I would also note that there are two more SUNY groups whose acronym-ed names are, verbally, “Wiggle” and “Doodle”, and I feel no better about sounding like I’m talking about preschoolers!) So saying “SUNY Council of Library Directors” every time I refer to us is a mouthful, but Scold… that’s just not happening, people. Not. Happening.

But the whole thing does make me smile. Like, why did no one NOTICE?

Yours in Cheerful Bafflement,



  1. (Sometimes I cheat and partially de-acronym-ize things. I would probably say “SUNY cee-ell-dee” and “SUNY mug” and…well, “scow,” probably, but just because I like that word.)


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