Language & Styleguide: Acronyms and Initialisms

An acronym is a word, usually pronounced as such, formed from the initial letters of other words (e.g. ATAC, NASA, and NATO). An initialism is a group of initial letters used as an abbreviation for a name or expression, each letter being pronounced separately (e.g. CBC and BYOB).

Use acronyms and initialisms on the second reference after the full name of the organization has been stated:

Example: The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) awarded $80 million in 2009. CFI grants were awarded to ten Lakehead researchers.

Common Acronyms and Initialisms used at Lakehead:

SHARCNET Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network  
CIS Canadian Interuniversity Sports  
GTA Greater Toronto Area  
OIT Ontario Innovation Trust
CFI Canada Foundation for Innovation
NSERC Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council 
SSHRC Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
FedNor The Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario
COU Council of Ontario Universities
AUCC Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada
MTCU Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities
ThunderCATS Community Action Team
ATAC Advanced Technology and Academic Centre
OUAC Ontario Universities’ Application Centre