Show Creator's first name in addition to last name in the middle pane

First, a sincere thanks to the Zotero developers and community for creating a wonderful piece of software. (I'm using standalone Zotero 4.0.21.2 on Windows 7, by the way.)

I'd love it if Zotero could display the given name [i.e., first name] in addition to the surname [i.e., last name] of Creators in the middle pane.

I work on East Asian politics and there are many, many authors with common last names like Chen, Wang, Yang, and Kim. Surnames alone just aren't enough for visually differentiating discrete authors. For instance, my database has nine different authors surnamed Yang. So, here is what I see in the Creator and Year columns of one section of my library:

Yang 1996
Yang 2004
Yang 2007
Yang 2000
Yang 2003
Yang 2005
Yang 1996
Yang 2008
(etc., for many more Yangs)

instead of what I'd prefer, and how EndNote has it, which is:
Yang, Dali 1996
Yang, Dali 2004
Yang, Dali 2007
Yang, Guobin 2000
Yang, Guobin 2003
Yang, Guobin 2005
Yang, Ji 1996
Yang, Kuisong 2008
(etc., for many more Yangs)

From perusing the forum, I get that the Creator field is special and, for single-authored work by a non-institutional author, I gather that it contains just the surname of that author. So I know this might not be easy. But I'm wondering if there is something that could be done about this, or some workaround. For example, if it were possible to show an author field (containing the full name of the first author, or the full names of all authors) as a column in addition to the Creator column, that would be an OK workaround for me.

Others have made this point too. In posts on a different thread concerning sorting, JonEP and others such as m715 pointed out the problem of displaying (in the middle pane) multiple authors with the same surname. E.g., they mentioned having many authors with the last name of Smith, or works by both Ben and Perry Anderson, or Ernst Bloch and Maurice Bloch. See: https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/8057/1/sorting-in-the-library-window/

Thanks for giving this your consideration.

Ben
  • I very much want to echo Ben's thanks to the Zotero developers and community above. . . .I just started using Zotero a few weeks ago because my curiosity got the best of me when a colleague raved to me about his discovery of Zotero and its capabilities — so much so that I've now introduced Zotero to my class of 20 research writing graduate students using some of your documentation's outstanding screencast tutorials!

    My only request is similar to Ben's above. While via Zotero Standalone's lovely drag-and-drop column ordering feature, I have been able to reorder my columns to match the familiar (and therefore easy-to-read) ordering of information characteristic of reference lists in my field (Creator, Year, Title), I have discovered I'm still struggling somewhat in scanning through my creator column to check the contents of my library. This may seem silly, but it's because while my field uses "&" to connect the surnames for two-author papers, Zotero's two-author display uses the spelled-out "and." I'm therefore wondering whether Zotero Standalone's column display style could be rendered modifiable by users via either a "Zotero-Library-Window Column-Display" style option added to Tools>Preferences>Advanced>General>Open CSL Editor? (Or via a new "Zotero-Library-Window Column-Display Preferences Editor" whose backend code could perhaps be informed by the Open CSL Editor and perhaps made accessible to users via a button located next to the "Open CSL Editor" button?)

    Though I understand that requests I can't currently afford to support via donation may be very low on your priority list, I still want to mention my variation on Ben's request above in hopes that it encourages others who share our interest also to express their request (ideally, along with financial support for its development!). Again, thanks SO much for all your work on Zotero — It's amazing!

    Monica
  • I second both of these requests. Having author's first initials, or all initials, in addition to second authors' names and initials would be very helpful.

    I have my Zotero setup with Creator - Year - Title, and generally scroll down until I find the creator and then go from there. Having several authors with the same last name (but different people) often makes it confusing to find the paper I'm looking for (looking for Yang, 2004) in a list of 15 Yangs with varying years in varying orders because they are different authors.
  • Yes, I third that for the same reason. Those Asians and their family names... Seriously though, this should be an option. Maybe there's a workaround?

    On a side note, I've tried citing works by different Huangs, but it didn't disambiguate with an initial. Would that have to do with my style or with Zotero itself?
  • Would that have to do with my style or with Zotero itself?
    likely with the style -- most styles only disambiguate where it's strictly necessary, i.e. same last name, same year.
  • edited June 12, 2015
    I would also like to ask for this feature, for all the same reasons. I have a lot of different Huangs and Changs and Wus in Zotero all jumbled together. Zotero doesn't differentiate between different authours with the same family name, so the works by different Changs are put together and sorted only by date, as if written by the same person.
    This is the only minor complaint I have about Zotero, otherwise everything is perfect. Thanks for this great software!

    Edit: I just noticed I already replied to this same thread half a year ago. My-my. Consider this a bump, and forgive my poor memory.
  • Zotero doesn't differentiate between different authours with the same family name, so the works by different Changs are put together and sorted only by date, as if written by the same person.
    That's not the case, actually. Unless you have extensions.zotero.sortCreatorAsString enabled in about:config (which isn't the default), it sorts by the full name, even though it only shows the family name.
  • Now that I've checked more carefully, it appears that you, sir, are indeed correct, and I was wrong in my statement. My apologies.

    Knowing that Zotero does indeed sort by first name even when it doesn't display it makes me hopeful that the feature of displaying the first name would be easier to implement.
  • It is really needed to show the full name, even only sorted by last name.
    Hope for improvement on this. Thank you for dev.
  • I am surprised that this is still not possible. Any chances that there will be a change in the near future?
  • edited April 10, 2020
    I really really really need to see the full name (or first name initials), too!
    Please consider this feature, dev!
  • I would also like to ask for this feature, for all the same reasons. While switching to the full name, eg. "first name last name" makes it possible to see the complete name in the overview, it then sorts by first name, which it really not practial.

    My wish would be a "Last name, first name" option, with the complete first name visible.
  • For the people requesting this, is the issue wanting to see the full name, or is it disambiguation? In other words, do you want to see the full name for every creator in the list, or would it be enough to see the given name (or initial) only when there were multiple items in the library with the same family name?
  • @dstillman

    Thanks for asking! For me, it is not only about disambiguation, it is about the weired ways of my memory. I tend to forget last names easier, the given name gives me another hint to quickly identify a paper.
    On the other hand, as said, I cannot just switch to the existing "first name last name" option, as Zotero will then sort by the given name, and also the add on "ZotFile" will organize my pdfs in carpets named this way - both I find inconvenient.
  • @dstillman Thank you for your reply!
    For me, both. There are many creators in my library having the same last name (e.g., Zhang); besides, I also want to see the first name of an author for memory-friendly.

    So I want to add two option: 1) show the creator's full name (e.g., Zhang, Fistname); 2) show creator's full name initial (e.g., Zhang, F.), which can save some width.

    Thanks again!
  • @minmax Storing personal names in single-field mode will also yield incorrect citations, so you certainly shouldn’t do that.
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