I have made an editorial decision to standardize the way I talk about birth certificates, and in particular to stop using the phrase “long form.” I think the “long form” / “short form” designations create more heat than light.
Hawaii Department of Health Director Fukino used the phrase “original birth certificate” to describe the document they hold and that’s what I will use. Adding “hospital” or “typewritten” in front is unnecessary, and I’m going to stop doing that.
The documents that individuals get from vital records agencies are “certified copies” and I will use that term as the general term, consistent with industry terminology. This is also what consumers commonly call a “birth certificate.” When using the term informally to apply to a particular document, I’ll use “birth certificate” too.
There are two types of certified copies of original birth certificates: “certified photocopies” and” certified abstract copies”. The latter is a certified copy of information taken (abstracted) from the original birth certificate. I’m going to use those terms to distinguish between the two types as in “President Obama published a certified abstract copy of his birth certificate”.
And what of the COLB? As it is commonly used in the Obama Conspiracy community, this term is fairly meaningless, particularly because the acronym applies equally to a “Certificate of Live Birth” as it does to a “Certification of Live Birth,” terms that appear on original birth certificates as well as both kinds of abstract copy. The term has value when used properly. I will use the term “Certificate of Live Birth” (COLB) to make a distinction between a live birth and a foreign born adoption or an out of state birth.