We have a lot of two and three letter acronyms (TLAs) and four and five letter acronyms (FLAs) in our industry and it seems like there are some we all should know at this point. Here are TLA and FLA acronyms that I think we all need to know.
My English teacher taught me to spell out TLA and FLA acronyms the first time before using them as acronyms to ensure the audience understands the acronym reference. But I admit that I get lazy sometimes and dispense with the description if I think the audience should know what the acronym means. Do I really need to inform you that the acronym for artificial intelligence is “AI”? Probably not. But there are some acronyms that not everybody in our industry knows, but probably should know.
So, I decided to develop a short list of TLA and FLA acronyms that I think people in eDiscovery and legal technology should know. See if you agree with my list and let me know if you think any should be added or dropped.
For lawyers and legal professionals, these TLA and FLA acronyms seem like no-brainers:
- CLE (Continuing Legal Education)
- ABA (American Bar Association)
- FRCP (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure)
- FRE (Federal Rules of Evidence)
I would perhaps add FRCMP (Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure), especially for those who handle a lot of criminal cases.
If you’re involved with technology in any way, you should know at least these TLA and FLA acronyms:
- API (Application Programming Interface)
- BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
- SaaS (Software as a Service)
- FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
- IP (Internet Protocol)
- TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)
- HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
- HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol)
- IT (Information Technology)
Do I really need to explain that IT stands for Information Technology to anybody? I hope not. Of course, WiFi is the FLA for “Wireless Fidelity”, but nobody explains that anymore (because nobody really cares).
Data Size Acronyms
We should all know these TLA acronyms to represent data sizes:
- KB (Kilobyte)
- MB (Megabyte)
- GB (Gigabyte)
- TB (Terabyte)
At the rate we’re going, these will become more common as well: PB (Petabyte), EB (Exabyte), ZB (Zettabyte), YB (Yottabyte). It’s also important to remember that each level up is 1,024 of the previous level – not 1,000 – per the binary number system.
eDiscovery Oriented Acronyms
A short list of TLA acronyms that I think everyone should know:
- ESI (Electronically Stored Information)
- ECA (Early Case Assessment)
- EDA (Early Data Assessment)
- IG (Information Governance)
- OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
Seems like there should be more here, but I’m not sure how far to take this list (plus some terms naturally fall into other lists). “ESI” is probably the term I most assume the audience knows, leading me to skip defining it, but non-eDiscovery people may not know it. And it’s important to be able to differentiate ECA and EDA!
Industry Organization Terms
If you’re in legal technology, eDiscovery or information governance, you should know these organizations:
- EDRM (Electronic Discovery Reference Model)
- ACEDS (Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists)
- WiE (Women in eDiscovery)*
- ILTA (International Legal Technology Association)
- ARMA (formerly the Association of Records Managers and Administrators, but now “ARMA International”)
Technically, EDRM the organization is just “EDRM”, but if you’re in eDiscovery, awareness of the EDRM model is a must.
AI Related Terms
Here are a few, including some that are eDiscovery specific:
- AI (Artificial Intelligence)
- ML (Machine Learning)
- TAR (Technology Assisted Review)
- CAL (Continuous Active Learning)
People know AI, but a lot less of them know ML. Many also tend to use TAR as synonymous with Predictive Coding (so we don’t tend to abbreviate that as “PC”), while others consider TAR a superset that includes predictive coding (are you reading this, Tom?).
Data Privacy Terms
Here are a few of the obvious TLA and FLA acronyms I’m dying to stop explaining:
- PII (Personally Identifiable Information)
- PHI (Protected Health Information)
- GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
- CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act)
- DSAR (Data Subject Access Request)
If I added up the time that I’ve typed out the words for these TLA and FLA acronyms, I could probably take a nice vacation with it! 😉
Those are some TLA and FLA acronyms that I would love to stop explaining. I’m even think of creating a resource of common TLA and FLA acronyms in our industry and linking to it in posts so that people can look them up!
So, what do you think? Should I create a separate list of acronyms and link to them each time? And are there any acronyms you would add or subtract from this list? Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.
* – Hat tip to Cristin Traylor for catching my obvious oversight on WiE!
Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.