The Second Dictionary of the Nomenclature of Celestial Objects (see Lortet, Borde & Ochsenbein (1994)) can be consulted at vizier.u-strasbg.fr/cgi-bin/Dic or via telnet to simbad.u-strasbg.fr (login as info, give <CR> as password, then issue the command info cati XXX to inquire about the acronym XXX). Authors of survey-type source lists are strongly encouraged to check that designations of their objects do not clash with previous namings and are commensurate with IAU recommendations on nomenclature cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/iau-spec.html. In order to guarantee that designations of an ongoing survey will not clash with other names, authors or PIs of such surveys should consider to pre-register an acronym for their survey some time before publication at the URL given above. Information on over 4000 acronyms is provided.
Independently, a list of ``Astronomical Catalog Designations'' has been prepared by INSPEC (see www.iee.org.uk/publish/inspec/astro_ob.html). It is less complete than the CDS version and deviates in places from the IAU recommendations.
The dictionary ``StarBits'', maintained by A. Heck (Strasbourg), offers ~ 120,000 abbreviations, acronyms, contractions and symbols from astronomy and space sciences and related fields. It is accessible at cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/~heck/sfbits.htm. Astronomers are invited to consult this dictionary to avoid assigning an acronym that has been used previously.
On behalf of the IAU several librarians of large astronomical institutions prepared ``The Astronomy Thesaurus'' of astronomical terms ([Shobbrook & Shobbrook (1993)], and later its ``Multi-Lingual Supplement'' ([Shobbrook & Shobbrook (1995)]) in five different languages (English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish). It is freely available at www.aao.gov.au/library/thesaurus.html. It may be useful in many respects, e.g., to translate astronomical terms, to aid authors in better selection of keywords for their papers, and to help librarians improve the classification of publications. The Thesaurus is available via anonymous ftp for DOS, MAC and Unix systems (www.aao.gov.au/lib/thesaurus.html); it has not been updated for some years, but M.Cummins (firstname.lastname@example.org) is currently in charge of it and appreciates comments about its future.
As an aside I mention the ``Electronic Dictionary of Space Sciences'' by J. Kleczek and H. Kleczková, who have collected several 10,000 of words, synonyms and expressions from astronomy, space sciences, space technology, earth- and atmospheric sciences and related mathematics, physics, and engineering fields in five languages: English, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese (see www.twinpress.nl/edss.htm for an electronic version at cost). The ``Oxford English Dictionary'' (OED; www.oed.com/) is currently being revised to include a far more comprehensive set of astronomical terms than before (see the OED Newsletter at www.oed.com/public/news/; [Mahoney (1998)]).