Fixing author names and initials

When citations are imported from different sources the author's name is imported in different formats, for example:
Sweeney, Todd
Sweeney, T
Sweeney, Todd G.
Sweeney, Todd Geoff
Sweeney, T. G.
As far as I can tell, Zotero sees these as different authors and it make the bibliography a mess. I have to go through manually and make sure that the format is the same. Is there a plugin or tool to facilitate getting these in the same format?
  • edited May 25, 2023
    How is one to know that Sweeney, T isn't named Thomas or Theresa? Todd G isn't Todd Gordon?

    For years my team had been working on a system [[edit: for our own outside Zotero-facilitated database] that assigns probabilities to name matches using the presence of similar co-authors, date-range of publication dates, and (although not available in Zotero) author's institutional affiliation and ORCID identifier. (We get the affiliation and ORCID by using the Zotero-captured PMID and doing our own polling of the NLM database.) This, at best, helps with human decisions with manual name consolidation.
  • Zotero could certainly allow you to search for Sweeney and then batch adjust all names that are, indeed, the same author -- but no, not currently available and I'm not aware of a tool that allows that, though there has been a slew of add-ons recently so having a hard time to keep track of all functionality out there
  • edited May 26, 2023
    You can at least identify instances of the same author formatted differently (and other name formatting problems) from an alphabetical list of all authors in your library (but fixing them is up to you). To get that list, run the following code under Tools\Developer\Run Javascript:

    var rows = await Zotero.DB.queryAsync("SELECT TRIM(lastName || ', ' || firstName) AS author, COUNT(*) AS num FROM items JOIN itemCreators USING (itemID) JOIN creators USING (creatorID) WHERE libraryID=1 GROUP BY author ORDER BY lastName ASC");
    var lines = [];
    for (let row of rows) {
    lines.push( + '\t' + row.num);
    return lines.join('\n');

    It's always a question with a reference library as to how much time you spend cleaning it up (which can take a long time), or do you just wait until problems become apparent when citing, and only fix authors' names then.

    Also, a lesson for young authors: make sure that every time your name appears in the author list on a paper, it is in *exactly* the same format (eg first name spelt out, one middle initial). Journals don't commonly impose the formatting of names in my experience. So where the same author's name appears in different ways across their published work, it's often because they let that happen.
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