Re: Abbreviations

Murray-Rust Dr P (
Mon, 30 Jan 1995 10:14:37 +0000 (GMT)

On Sun, 29 Jan 1995, Lesley West wrote:

> It seems the use of abbreviations maybe causing some confusion. For example:
> 1 Cornelius pointed out both ig and antibodies.html exist
> 2 Transfer RNA and trna are names pointing to trna.html unlike mrna
> 3 dna and deoxyribonucleic both exist in _index.html
> Whilst the glossary is growing, I think some simple rules on using
> abbreviations are needed. Any ideas?
This, of course, is a namespace problem. All the best ones are!

There are several problems:
1. What is the process of progressing temporary glossaries to
'finished ones'.
2. How do we *detect* overlap?

1. I suggest we use something similar to the MIME types. Thus a new
primary type might be x-chemical and a new secondary one x-pdb. This
gives a clear message about the statues of both parts.

2. Very difficult unless the discipline has already catalogued the field.
Therefore whenever possible use:
- standard names
- be careful of abbreviations
- be careful of capitalisation
- use NUMBERS where possible:
CAS registry numbers for compounds
Enzyme commission numbers for enzymes
Unique SMILES for compounds
Spacegroup numebrs
- latin names for species (not everyone knows what a 'gopher' is!
- anticipate overlap with other domains (e.g. 'domain'!) Note
this in the glossary.
- map onto existing dictionaries wherever possible. They have
(hopefully) systematised part of the name space.
- use the synonym field

In addition, I will attempt to write a tool which looks for context
overlap within a particular glossary. This will be crude, but it should
detect the problems we have had. E.g. "The following entries have a
contain words used in your entry..."


Peter Murray-Rust | "Nothing exists except atoms and empty | space; all else is opinion" (Democritos).
Protein Structure Group, Glaxo Group Research, Greenford, MIDDX, UB6 0HE, UK