In much of what I produce in LaTeX, I find I rely heavily on the glossaries package functionalities (particularly for it's custom glossary types). In many fields, I understand convention limits the use of an acronym to when it is required at minimum 2-3 times, so I would prefer to be able to set an option or define an environment that would permit the creation of some minimum requirements behind the creation/display of the abbreviation. I have tried to make the context of this clear in a functional MWE.





% Glossaries must be loaded before amsmath as per details in the following forum answer
% https://tex.stackexchange.com/questions/85696/what-causes-this-strange-interaction-between--and-amsmath
\usepackage[nogroupskip,toc,acronym]{glossaries} % must come after href   


\newglossaryentry{ICPMS}{ type={acronym}, sort={inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry},  name={ICPMS}, short={ICPMS}, long={inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry}, first={inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS)}, description={inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry} }


    \part{An example of an abbreviation with multiple calls}

        \item \gls{ICPMS}
        \item this term is fully expanded and summarized on first use which displays \gls{ICPMS}
        \item this both makes sense because \gls{ICPMS} has appeared multiple times and because this is exactly what is what the documentation describes. 
        \item This is likely exactly the situation glossaries was designed for...

\part{An example of a single call of the abbreviation with}
I have just reset the acronyms.  This time only a single call to the abbreviated term will be made and there will be no difference will exist between this and the previous typesetting of the example term.

    \item \gls{ICPMS}
    \item This doesn't make sense - who cares about an abbreivation that never shows up again...
    \item It would make more sense to see:
    \item \glsdisp{ICPMS}{inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry}
    \item It doesn't make sense to force this with glsdisp because at any point the term could be added and theres no point to having to go through the files looking for this instance to correct.
    \item This is particularly important if different people are responsbile for writting different sections but with a known and pre-prepared glossary of abbreviations.  Who knows who will generate the first use, or if it will be the only occurance...

    \part{A custom environment to track gls usage}
    My ideal solution would include a new custom environment like the  which would contain the reset command, and contain some counters and decission structures so that I could have intelligant use criteron for the presentation of an acronym.



Some potential minimum use criterion for glossaries abbreviations:

  • requiring a minimum of 4 event counts prior to trigger the use (otherwise, only 3 uses of this term is not worthy of an acronym).
  • a minimum of 2 usages within the same section (or other type of specified document hierarchy) Then if frequency picks up, the acronym criteria would reflect that.
  • glossary terms reset if not used within 2 pages of each other
  • glossary terms rest if not used within 1000 words of each other etc.

Note I believe this is not a duplicate of Suppress the glossary expansion at first occurance because it is not a uniform suppression of the first use.


While not fully investigated yet (just stumbled across it while working on something else), glossaries: don't print single occurences may contain a similar type of hack that will be relevant to part of this question.

  • Please post a minimum working example. – cfr Feb 9 '15 at 3:03
  • @cfr I have added a MWE to also maybe clarify the points I only initially described. Currently this question is purely academic, so all I could show in a MWE is the glossaries package working properly - but not what I would like to see it doing. I hope this is what you were hoping to see in the MWE. – EngBIRD Feb 9 '15 at 4:19
  • Yes. That's great. It gives people a starting point and helps ensure that, for example, a solution is not specific to some class you are not using. – cfr Feb 9 '15 at 13:02
  • @cfr Your comment about the specific class poses an interesting and potential dilemma that I should keep in mind. I prefer to use the report class, but for the purposes of the document compiling in a compact readable manner i.e for quick skimming of the result, I made it an article mainly just because the part environment is far more compact in this class. – EngBIRD Feb 9 '15 at 17:10
  • This is something I'm working on with the glossaries-extra package (which is currently still under development and only available from my experimental code page). This can achieve your first bullet point. I don't think the last one is achievable due to the complexities of getting TeX to count words. The other two are complicated, but I'll see what I can do. Once the package is stable and on CTAN I'll post an answer to this question if it's still unanswered. – Nicola Talbot Dec 7 '15 at 12:39

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