Thursday, May 5

Chronic acronym usage among universities - NSCAD, RMIT and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design

There's nothing worse than excessive use of acronyms and we're all guilty of it. Warning this is a rant. The following post is likely to get me equally flamed and applauded so I've added a happy "treat" at the end. Enjoy.

For some reason I dropped by NSCAD Univerisy today and was amazed to find that though they use the acronym NSCAD 11 times, including the page title! on their homepage they do not EVER spell out their full name. But it doesn't end there. There is narry a page on the site that mentions their full name! In fact I was not able to decipher the acronym fully until after digging around and reading their history page, which while it doesn't state it I was able to generally deduce that in all likelihood it stands for Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

So bad is their use of the acronym that I suspect and indeed do hope that in making this blog post for the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design that perhaps, just maybe I might be able to surpass them in the search engines for "Nova Scotia College of Art and Design".

Before you go calling me a moron and telling me that "everyone knows" I want to remind you that 99% of the people online and probably the most important visitors to this website no little to nothing about the university itself. The most important people are the ones who don't know. In fact the primary intended purpose of this website is marketing. The blatant out and out use of bad acronyms is an isolationary practice even if "everyone knows" who goes to this school, it a horrible practice in marketing materials. The name contains all the information that's relevant. It's a college, it's in Nova Scotia, it's for Art and Design. Why in god's name would you NOT use it? Perhaps they're now technically a university. Great! Call yourself the Nova Scotia University of Art and Design. But for god's sake no potential student is EVER going to type NSCAD into a search engine or, for that matter neither are any of your current members. The world is getting larger, more and more people from all over the world and all walks of life, countries and languages are bumping into one another. The internet allows like minded people from all over the world to seek out the rare individuals who are of like mind, so why in the hell are universities so determined to isolate themselves?

I'm not sure if this is a trend, but this is not the first University that has grabbed my attention for excessive use of undefined acronyms. I've become a huge fan recently of Adrian Miles and his work over at RMIT, but I challenge you to go to their homepage and find out what RMIT stands for? I suspect since it's in Melbourne the M stands for Melbourne and IT is a typical acronym for Institute of Technology, but I have no idea what the R stands for and can't really be sure what any of it stands for. It's the same story as with NSCAD, the acronym RMIT is used 12 times in the homepage, including the title, but nowhere is it spelled out. I challenge you to dig around on this site and find me a page that spells out the acronym. Hopefully now that I've complained about it Adrian will make note of this embarrassment to the staff in charge of updating the website.

One last point. Upon doing a google search for "nova scotia college of art and design" I find that they actually do appear number one on google.

Google Search: nova scotia college of art and design

What's up with that? Well not NSCAD's google rank. It would appear that they had previously had their full name as the title of their page, this means someone has very recently and deliberately changed their homepage to not read Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Expect their page rank to go down. Furthermore nowhere on their new homepage is nova scotia even mentioned and the words art and design are only mentioned once. Finally they have set large chunks of text including their navigation for no apparent reason (they are set in standard web fonts) as images... where in addition to being an accessibility issue this type is not able to be read by search engines.

Now, Enjoy this sweet short 3d animation called "Delivery" by Till Nowak

Watch it:
(33.4mb Quicktime)


lafermetagueule said...

I am loving loving reading these posts in mefeedia while watching the movies. The fact that the posts have nothing to do with the movies makes it even better ;)

Michael Meiser said...

Thank you both! You made my day!

I don't generally get a lot of feedback. My blog sort of has multiple personalities. I was just having fun with that aspect. On the one hand I have these academic rants and on the other I use it to share videos I find fun and interesting with friends and whomever cares to watch. There's often little correspondence between the two. One is very publicly inviting, and the other, my long rants... to be honest I don't think people could give a crap less about. I think the random interplay a beautiful thing.

Also, there are beginning to be some separations in experience.

1) reading the blog
2) reading the blog in an news reader
3) watching the blog in ANT or another video aggregater

People who experience my blog in different ways get very different perspectives and come away with very different perceptions.

It's fun, and that's really all that matters.


Michael Meiser said...

Well... Having fun and actually being useful are all that's important.

However, I can't say that ranting about acronyms actually has much of an educational value, though I must admit, making the world a better place one acronym at a time, is a noble cause. :)

Anonymous said...

Truth, I read a little about the acronyms,
and skipped right to the animation short.
Good find...amazing concept, perfect for
Animation...if it were only that easy.

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael.

Don't even bother asking me about the RMIT homepage. Good luck with finding anything!

To answer the puzzle. Royal. It's the Royal Melbourne Instutite of Technology. But much like MIT, we're only known as RMIT, no one actually says the whole lot (and since we became a uni we're actually RMIT University and if you say that out loud you sound oxymoronic).