Q. Expanding acronyms within acronyms

Subject: Q. Expanding acronyms within acronyms
From: Peterson Karen <Peterson_Karen -at- PRC -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 16:28:59 -0500

Dear Techwhirlers,

We explain acronyms in our documents at their first occurrence by expanding
the term and then including the acronym in parentheses. How do you format
something like IOCTL, which is an initialism within an initialism?

input/output (I/O) control (IOCTL)
I/O control (IOCTL)

The problem is whether or not to expand I/O, which would not have appeared
previously in the document. Should it be done as part of IOCTL, like the
first example; or should it just be referenced in the glossary and expanded,
as it would be in the second example?

(This is supposed to be a generic example. I need a "rule" that covers all
occurrences of this type of problem, not a solution specific to expanding

I have searched the archives, The Chicago Manual, and the Microsoft Manual
of Style for Tech Pubs, but I have not found the answer.

Thank you very much,

"Of all those arts in which the wise excel,
Nature's chief masterpiece is writing well."
--Sheffield, Duke of Buckinghamshire

Karen Peterson
Peterson_Karen -at- prc -dot- com

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