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Say what? Website decodes fed acronyms for government outsiders

Dec. 4, 2012 - 01:59PM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments

OSDBU. LORACS. SME. Bob Mander has seen them all — acronyms, that is. As a technical writer at the Law Library of Congress and a 10-year government contractor, Mander gathered definitions for the more than 1,500 acronyms he encountered.

Now he is focused on launching Govlish.com — named after the dialect he dubbed and trademarked — where citizens, government contractors and feds can go when they have no clue what an acronym means.

Mander and his team have plumbed the lexicons of federal and state governments to gather more than 57,000 acronyms for the site, which will allow its visitors to research definitions, take quizzes and find links for more information.

He said his list of acronyms began when he was asked to read an environmental impact statement and began building a database of definitions for easy reference.

“Little did I know I was barely scratching the surface,” Mander said.

His research shows there are more than 14 million Google searches a month for government acronyms, and he expects his site will become the go-to destination for answers.

Because agencies try to create language that is easier to read, acronyms serve a useful purpose and are not going to go away, Mander said.

“There will be more and more of them all the time,” Mander said.

Govlish.com currently features a sign-up tool for updates and allows visitors to take a short quiz. Mander said he expects the complete website to be ready in about four months.

The site will also have a “hall of fame” section for acronyms once popular but no longer used, as well as a section for humorous acronyms.

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