first name letter in citation

  • I just tried starting a new document and put some of those same citations in that and they are fine there....
  • We might be talking past each other with alt+F9 -- pressing alt+F9 should expand a large amount of code for each citation in the document starting with ZOTERO_ITEM CSL_CITATION. Are you seeing those?

    That's where I want you to check for the author names and you'll also find uris (in the form

    That's assuming you're on Word. In LO this is a bit harder.
  • I am seeing all the code when I press alt+f9 and I am using Word.
    here is a uri from one of the offending references

    The names look correct there no middle initial
  • OK, that looks good then.
    Could you insert a bibliography and post the section(s) belonging to the citations with wrong disambiguation here?

    Also, I just want to reiterate what bwiernik says above: APA will (correctly) disambiguate if you have any other with the same last name as a first author on any other work in the paper.
  • edited August 19, 2015
    (Arneborg et al., 2006; S. Brewington et al., 2015; Dugmore et al., 2012; Thomas H. McGovern et al., 2007; Ogilvie, Woollett, Smiarowski, Arneborg, Troelstra, et al., 2009)

    For Brewington I went over the db and reentered both the first and last name for all entries.
    For McGovern I think I have done that but since he is on a lot of the papers in my db I might have missed something there.

    I think this is the citation that is causing the problem
    it is not changing
  • yeah, if you look at that URI -- that citation was inserted from a different account (because of that, Zotero relies on the embedded metadata in the document. Nothing you do in your database will be reflected in that citation). Are you co-authoring this with someone? If not, did you ever have a second Zotero account (in case that helps, the account from which that citation was inserted is significantly younger than yours).
  • edited August 19, 2015
    Yes the document is co-authored (sorry did not realize that was important). Is there some ouick way to see which citations are from the other database so I can just fix those?
  • ah there we go then: If you co-author without using a group for all citations, this is a major issue: only the person who inserted a citation can actually modify the underlying metadata. That's one of the reasons I'd advise people to use groups for co-authoring (though now that's obviously too late in your case).

    You will also not, btw. that if both of you cite the same item, if you select it from "My Library" and not from "Cited" in the Word add-on, they'll appear as different items.

    The only solutions I can come up with is
    1) One of you replaces all citations inserted by the other person
    2) You go through the paper together and agree on unifying author names.
  • Ok. Thank you so much for helping me figure this out. I will now start a group and just redo all the citations, I think that might be easiest.

    And again thank you for your very patient help, even if it will be some work I am just so happy to have figured out the issue, it was driving me crazy!
  • Hey I've read all these answers and nothing seems to work. Has there been any more recent fixes to this?
  • @ajgordon: Can you be more specific?
  • Yes @fbennett
    For many of my citations, in text in word the first name of the citation appears, which is not the APA method. It only does this with some of the authors. I've even tried deleting the entire entry and starting again from scratch manually putting in all the info. It does seem to work.

    Also, every time I change it in word manually (i.e. delete the author's first initial or name there) It regresses back to its original entry after I refresh it.
    Here's an example:

    I get (Ed Deiner, 2016) instead of (Deiner, 2016). OR (K. Pargament, 2000) instead of (Pargament, 2000). The first names or initials are in citation parantheses but they shouldn't be.

    Any thoughts on this? Thanks.
  • edited August 4, 2016
    Have you entered the author names into Zotero using a single field or in two fields ( lastname, firstname )? If a single field, that is the cause of your problem.

    If two fields, please provide more details.

    To my knowledge having entered author names in a single field is the only way for the Zotero APA style to disambiguate author names by printing the first name before the last as shown in your example.
  • edited August 4, 2016
    hi @dwl-sdca. Thanks for your help.

    These are entered as two fields. I heard about that problem before and i had changed a couple of them to one field and the issue i mentioned above still stands. the first name is mentioned in the citation.

    Also, all my zotero citations are two field and only a select few have the above mentioned issue.

    Hmmm. What more details can i give you?

    Note: I have edited this since i first wrote it a few minutes ago.
  • Could you test these in a fresh document, please? This is almost certainly due to one of the two issues mentioned here in this thread -- wrongly input authors or disambiguation -- and whether they look right in a new document or not would let us figure out which.
  • @adamsmith, thanks. When I add those names as a citation in a fresh document it has the same problem. I checked by adding a number different citations and the first name of the author appears again, only for a select few citations. I also tried this method by shutting down and rebooting word and zotero, starting a fresh document again. It actually worked for a minute such that there was no first name in the citation but then went back to its old ways. Actually sometimes it includes the first name sometimes not. So it really seems like a glitch or malfunction in messing with citation.

    I've already checked about how the authors are inputted (twofield/onefield) and they're inputting as two fields. All the authors for all my citations are inputted as two fields.

    How can I fix the diambiguation?

    Other details that may be helpful: 1) I send the document back and forth to someone that does not use zotero. While they have in the past fixed the citations (because they were wondering why the Fname was in there), they haven't since. They do still edit the document and return the document to me and I continue and send back/forth. . 2) For this document, I create new updated documents about once every two weeks so that I keep track of the progress on the article. 3) These citations and this article has been in use for more than a year.
  • edited August 5, 2016
    Working with someone else on a document, having them make edits, and saving before returning the document to you can cause all sorts of problems but I'm not sure that your issue is one of the many. I definitely recommend that you use exactly the same word processor software (and version) and be sure that it is saved in the same format. If the colleague has made edits that damaged the field codes for your Zotero citations that could be part of the problem.

    Thus, if someone else has been working on your live document, that is almost certainly a contributor if not the single cause of the problem. I posit that the citations with name problems are not from your Zotero library but that of your colleague. I cannot think of another way for the name to be properly entered in your library and have it be wrongly formatted in your manuscript. [Unless... did you have the author names in a single field in a record, deleted that record and added a correctly formatted one, but didn't empty the trash and didn't connect to the new, correct record?]

    Someone else here may have more detailed instructions but the crux of the problem can be fixed by deleting (completely) the field codes for the problem Zotero citations and reinserting them. You will want to show the citation codes so that you are sure to delete the entire thing.

    In the future, when you work with a colleague you really must use the group function. It works quite well. Both (or all) of you will be working from the same Zotero library and there is less likely to be this sort of problem.

    How long is this document? Is it prohibitively long so as to make it impossible to save a copy of the manuscript, remove all field codes from the copy and reinsert the citations _without_ sharing the editing task with anyone unless you have set up a group library.
  • While what DWL says will do as a workaround, to troubleshoot this, we'd need more finegrained reports. There's too many moving parts in what you describe.
    Take a fresh, entirely empty document. Insert one single citation that elsewhere shows up with initials in APA. Don't add other citations; don't try any other troubleshooting steps. Does it have initials or not?
  • Hi @adamsmith:
    Okay so I'm troubleshooting this. I've take a fresh, entirely empty document. Inserted one single citation that elsewhere shows up with initials in APA. You're right they all turned out fine. NO INITIALs. I tried them all with new documents (and my original document with the issue not showing up). What do you suggest?

    @DWL-SDCA Thanks for the advice. So really I should just delete the field codes at the final draft because I'm going to keep sending the file back and forth, even after I delete those field codes. There's no way for me to get the person reading my article on board with zotero at this time. Maybe if we're collaborating in the future but this is a dissertation committee. I've just been telling them to ignore the citation mistakes and that I'll fix it for the official submission. For my last submission (for the proposal) I just removed the code fields and manually updated all those problem citations. Its a pretty long document, 40-60 pages, and its only going to grow, eventually be over 100 pages (fingers crossed).
    I'm not sure I fully understand your final suggestion - can you help me with that one please?

    Thank you both for all your help. I hope others can learn from this one.
  • Then it's likely due to disambiguation. It's possible it doesn't work correctly (though I'd still bet it does), but let's figure that out.
    In your original document, where you do see the initials in text, could you post the relevant sections of the bibliography here?
    That is, all items in the bibliography that have those authors as first authors.
  • Please do what adamsmith requests above.

    Also, when you have a draft to be sent to your advisor, I recommend saving a copy, removing field codes from the copy and sending the version without field codes. If you need to send a word processor document do so but I recommend pdf. You will need to hand edit any recommended changes but that can be a very good practice as it forces you to become more deeply involved with your manuscript.

    I began using Zotero in late 2007 after giving up on Reference Manager. Even in those early days it was a much better experience. My doctoral thesis was almost 300 pages. I split it into sections and only combined them at the end for the final bibliography. By 2009, essentially everyone in my department had switched to Zotero. But we never shared live documents.
  • I had the problem where I had two citations by the same author in the same year and where the zotero data in fields were distinct in a minor way. That is [Author1, Initial Initial], for one citation, while in another by the same author it was entered [Author1, FirstNameInFull Initial]. When I made it so both were in the same format [Author1, Initial Initial] it recognized them being the same and did not add initials the inline citation, but instead added Author1 2017a, Author1 2017b.
  • The only problem with this solution, which I have also adopted, is that authors publish different articles under different names, e.g. J.A., John A., John, and Jack. If I conflate them, am I doing anything incorrect?
  • No -- most styles actually favor -- if not require -- you to render the name in a single, unified way for all articles.
  • edited October 14, 2017
    What @adamsmith said:

    For example, the Chicago Manual of Style (15) states:
    “Authors’ names are normally given as they appear on the title pages of their books or above their articles. Certain adjustments, however, should be made to assist correct identification. First names may be given in full in place of initials. If an author uses his or her given name in one cited book and initials in another (e.g., “Mary L. Jones” versus “M. L. Jones” versus “Mary Jones” versus “Mary Lois Jones” versus “M. Jones”), the same form, preferably the fuller one, should be used in all references to that author. To assist alphabetization, middle initials or names should be given wherever known”. [¶14.72] (emphasis added)

    There are similar requirements with other citation styles. (See: APA Guideline 6.27.) Without some assistance, it can be all but impossible to follow this requirement.

    How is one to know if the M.L. Jones is Mary L. Jones, Michael Lewis Jones, or someone else? For some university professors, this blind attention to following the details of a style guide can make the difference between a passing or a failing grade. For manuscript submission this can be the difference between acceptance and rejection as attention to citation formatting may be used as a gauge of an author's attention to scholarly detail.

    My own online literature database makes great effort to provide consistently full author names even when the full name isn't provided by a particular journal editor. This is not always possible. Attempts at a name authority (ORCID, VIAF, etc.) through personal identifier numbers are having very limited success. [I know of several authors who have several ORCID IDs. They don't want ORCID to list their works so when required to submit an ORCID ID with their manuscript they simply sign up for another.]

    Like Agatha Christy's Miss Lemon character, I dream of a perfect database where one can enter an author's name and have a meaningful listing of her or his complete work. In an attempt to accurately get full names from initials I've developed probability models that include things such as coauthors, publication dates, research topics, etc. None of this has been of much value for name identification on a mass scale -- my database contains about 550,000 items and almost 3 million author names.

    Individual Zotero users should be able to know when author names are incomplete and with little effort be able to make authors' names in their database conform to a most-complete standard. You'll be glad you did.
  • hi, for me it was appearing like
    (J.L. Daston 1992) instead just (Daston 1992).
    So I closed word and Zotero
    Open again word doc and Zotero
    checked if i made the same entry in Zotero for the author and that i do not have other authors with the same surname in the word document ( in which case it would be correct to have this kind of citation)
    click on the filed (J.L. Daston 1992)
    click edit citation Zotero button
    just click enter (did not choose again the reference from the library, it was already there)
    and it appeared correct (Daston 1992).
  • That would indicate that you probably had had another Daston citation in your document previously and deleted it. The other citations will update when Zotero refreshes the document, either by using the Refresh button, adding a new citation or bibliography, or, as you noticed, editing a citation.
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