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‘Multi-letter’ initials in BibTeX

If your bibliographic style uses initials + surname, you may encounter a problem with some transcribed names (for example, Russian ones). Consider the following example from the real world:

@article{epifanov1997,
   author = {Epifanov, S. Yu. and Vigasin, A. A.},
   title  = ...
}

Note that the “Yu” is the initial, not a complete name. However, BibTeX’s algorithms will leave you with a citation — slightly depending on the bibliographic style — that reads: “S. Y. Epifanov and A. A. Vigasin, …”. instead of the intended “S. Yu. Epifanov and A. A. Vigasin, …”.

One solution is to replace each affected initial by a command that prints the correct combination. To keep your bibliography portable, you need to add that command to your bibliography with the @preamble directive:

@preamble{ {\providecommand{\BIBYu}{Yu} } }

@article{epifanov1997,
   author   = {Epifanov, S. {\BIBYu}. and Vigasin, A. A.},
   title    = ...
}

If you have many such commands, you may want to put them in a separate file and \input that LaTeX file in a @preamble directive.

An alternative is to make the transcription look like an accent, from BibTeX’s point of view. For this we need a control sequence that does nothing:

@article{epifanov1997,
   author   = {Epifanov, S. {\relax Yu}. and Vigasin, A. A.},
   title    = ...
}

Like the solution by generating extra commands, this involves tedious extra typing; which of the two techniques is preferable for a given bibliography will be determined by the names in it. It should be noted that a preamble that introduces lots of odd commands is usually undesirable if the bibliography is a shared one.

“Compound” initials (for single names made up of two or more words) may be treated in the same way, so one can enter Forster’s rather complicated name as:

@article{forster2006,
  author   = {Forster, P.M. {\relax de F.} and Collins, M.},
  title    = ...

The same trick can be played if you’re entering whole names:

...
  author   = {Epifanov, Sasha {\relax Yu}ri and
...

(though no guarantee, that either of those names is right, is offered!) However, if you’re typing the names in the “natural” (Western) way, with given names first, the trick:

...
  author   = {P.M. {\relax de F.} Forster and
...

doesn’t work — “de F. Forster” is treated as a compound family names.


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URL for this question: http://www.tex.ac.uk/cgi-bin/texfaq2html?label=bibtranscinit

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This is FAQ version 3.28, released on 2014-06-10.