A colleague and I have a difference of opinion. I believe our department should be abbreviated as "L&D." She believes it should be "L & D," which just looks silly to me. I never see spaces used before and after an ampersand when the term is an abbreviation (two distinct words, yes, but an abbreviation, no), but I haven't been able to find a rule pertaining to this particular issue. Is there one?
In the case of "acronyms" such as R&D the spaces would normally be omitted, but where the surrounding elements are words (for example, Tate & Lyle), spaces are invariably present.
Here's a link to Marks and Spencer's small print, where they refer to themselves as both M&S and Marks & Spencer on the same web page.
Just to clarify a point arising in comments elsewhere, in the title of a guide to HTML & XHTML the spaces are expected - although both surrounding elements are acronyms in themselves, they do not form a new single acronym when conjoined with an ampersand.
Also note that although at least some style guides (incl. Chicago Manual of Style) explicitly rule against spaces in acronyms, as @nohat points out, they are only style guides - there is no absolute rule in play unless your commissioning editor requires adherence to such. For example, in the UK, hospital Accident and Emergency departments are invariably A & E (with spaces).Tweet