disambiguation-rule="primary-name" and possible citeproc-js issue

This came up on https://github.com/jgm/pandoc-citeproc/issues/38:

Authors “Ann Doe / Ben Doe / Ron Roe” are rendered as follows in-text with chicago-author-date.csl:

  • “A. Doe, Doe, and Roe (2007)” with pandoc(-citeproc) – for MWE see link above
  • “Doe, Doe, and Roe (2007)” with citeproc-js

Now I don’t think “A. Doe, Doe, and Roe (2007)” is correct according to CMoS 16e 15.21: There’s nothing to indicate they want name disambiguation in addition to the disambiguation of cites.

If disambiguation-rule="primary-name" is replaced by givenname-disambiguation-rule="by-cite", pandoc renders the in-text citation as “Doe, Doe, and Roe (2007)” (which I think is correct).


  1. Is there any reason why chicago-author-date.csl has disambiguation-rule="primary-name" rather than "by-cite"? – I’d argue only the latter is in conformance with CMoS.

  2. Does the fact that citeproc-js does not render the initial when the style has disambiguation-rule="primary-name" reveal a possible bug?

  • 1. Yes. It's the example in 15.21:
    Where two or more works by different authors with the same last name are listed in a reference list, the text citation must include an initial (or two initials or a given name if necessary).

    Text citations:

    (C. Doershuk 2010)
    (J. Doershuk 2009)
    The citations are not ambiguous without the initial. Just the first name is, so this is not "by cite". Since the last name of the first author also affects the location in the bibliography, I think following APA's "primary author" rule here makes sense absent additional guidance from the manual.

    2. No, this is on purpose. The specifications aren't 100% clear (nor were we when we wrote them originally, I believe), but "primary-name" is disambiguating across first authors (and we've confirmed that's what APA, for which we originally added this, wants). citeproc-js handles this correctly; pandoc-citeproc should adjust accordingly.
  • Thank you, sounds convincing.
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