Chat Acronyms and Abbreviations

Welcome, AskAwayers, to a new Fall term of virtual reference! Once again we'll have a new crop of students, and a new harvest of questions and chats.

New students are more and more accustomed to the chat and text environment, and they are increasingly likely to treat virtual reference like they do any other online interaction. This means employing a lot of informal language, including an ever-increasing vocabulary of acronyms and abbreviations.

When confronted by a string of characters like STPPYNOZGTW, even the most plugged-in of us might throw up their hands and say "IDGI!" You may even stare goggle-eyed at a big jumble of seemingly-random letters and think, "BHIMBGO."

But NTW! There are lots of dictionaries of text message and chat lingo shorthand available online. Some are better than others, and each have strengths and weaknesses. I find this one from to be fairly comprehensive without being so full of entries that it's impossible to search. The whole list is on one page, so a simple CTRL+F will take you straight to the acronym nice and quick.

So next time you're faced with a patron who won't stop throwing down TLAs, FLAs, and DFLAs, just look them up on Netlingo and you'll be ready.

The new term starts soon! FYSBIGTBABR.


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