Glossary Guidance

There is one glossary page for each term, and you are invited to add additional pages for terms that are not present or add additional notes or suggested new definitions to existing pages. Periodically, decisions will be made by the chairs and groups as to finalizing definitions that are under revision. The glossary pages all follow the same format:

Term: (the name of the term, use lower case unless it's a proper noun)

Status: (final or under revision - use final when adding a new term; when suggesting a revision, change from final to under revision, then include the revision in the Suggested revision: field and an explanation in the Notes: field)

See: (optional, use this in cases where the term you are adding is not a preferred term. For example, if you want to add parish to the glossary but county is the preferred term, then the glossary entry for parish would be, simply, “See: county”)

Preferred definition: (the definition that we shall use, regardless of whether we, in a particular jurisdiction, use the term differently)

Suggested revision: (optional, use this if you want to suggest a revision to the term)

Abbreviation: (optional, if there is an abbreviation)

Synonyms: (optional, other terms that can be used interchangeably with this term)

See also: (optional, include terms that are related to this term)

Notes: (optional but highly encouraged - any additional expansion on the definition can go here, e.g., if the term is used differently in certain jurisdictions, it can be noted here. For example, if the term is county, one could note that Louisiana refers to this as parish and Alaska calls it borough.)

Guidance for adding new terms and definitions:

  • New terms and definitions should be written in plain English using clear and concise descriptions. Terms themselves should not be used in their own definitions. Use lower case as much as possible.
  • Needless customization should be avoided so that definitions have as broad an application as appropriate. Definitions that are too specific should be avoided.
  • Do not include more than one definition, the preferred definition, for a term. If a term is used differently in certain states, it can be noted but writers should use only the preferred term.
  • Terms and definitions that are taken from other sources should be accompanied by an appropriate reference or permission acknowledgment as necessary.
  • Supplemental material that accompanies a term for clarification but that is not an official part of the actual definition should be included in the Notes: field that immediately follows the term/definition.
  • Definitions should have no commercial connotations and should be completely non-proprietary.

Guidance for suggesting revisions to existing terms and definitions:

  • Revise terms only if necessary. Needless revision for minor or editorial changes is highly discouraged and creates more work.
  • Change the Status: field from final to under revision.
  • Include in the Notes: field an explanation as to why the revision is needed.
  • Include the suggested revision in the Suggested revision: field - don't overwrite the preferred definition.
-- John Wack - 2015-12-17


Topic revision: r1 - 2015-12-17 - JohnWack
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