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Abbreviations with embedded punctuation in keywords

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This came back to my attention this morning while looking through All of Alamy searches. I've known about this for years, but also seem to have forgotten it for years. Apologies to those for which this is old hat.


Let's take Washington, DC.  "DC" is the official US Post Office designation for "D.C.", which is an abbreviation for District of Columbia. 


If you enter a keyword of "D.C.", any subsequent search for it on Alamy will strip out the punctuation and search for "d c".


If you enter a keyword of "DC", the Alamy search will look for "dc".


If you have only one of "DC" and "D.C." keywords for an image, that image will not come up for the other keyword.


Searches on those two keywords show that some images have both and some have only one or the other. And All of Alamy results show that both forms are used for searches.


There are lots of other examples, such as "USA" vs "U.S.A."


So my questions:  How much do you take this into account for keywording? What are some major examples?



Edited by Bill Kuta
minor correction
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Bill, I use US, USA, U.S., U.S.A., United States. I should use United States of America more, but seldom do. Unlike you, I haven’t done searches between the various iterations, so I guess I’m just trusting that I’m covered! 😊


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Looks like you're covered for USA, Betty.


The issue only came up for me this morning because I was looking at AofA on an iPad. I entered "Washington DC" as a search term, and iOS suggested "Washington, D.C.", which I accepted. If some buyers use mobile devices for searching, they could also be sidetracked into suboptimal search terms. (A suboptimal search term is one that I don't have 🙁)

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23 minutes ago, Johnnie5 said:

I did a search and it did not turn out like I expected and I don't know what to make of it.

Washington D.C. 259,212

Washington dc 413,204

Washington D.C. or dc.  1,262,303

Although punctuation is usually ignored, I seem to remember Alamy saying that they do recognise some special cases. That would suggest "D.C." is one of them. One could think of a few others- there's Westward Ho! in Devon, with punctuation in its official name, probably uniquely. No difference in search, though.😕

"Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman

Edited by spacecadet
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