in text citation errors

I have three authors with the same surname. Instead of the surname first with initials to follow and the date, the in-text citation has the intials first. This won't be approved by APA. What do I do?
I also had the same article listed twice in my library. I deleted one, but it was after I had used both citations. My biblio has each listed, with one showing up 1983a and the other 1983b. How do I correct this? I just upgraded from Zotero 4 to Zotero 5.0.
  • For the name issue, that's this:

    If they are actually the same author, it's that you have items with the author's name spelled differently (e.g., with the given name spelled out or just as initials). Make the author name spelling consistent in your data.

    If it's actually different authors, then correct APA style is to add initials (or full given names if the initials are the same) before the surname in the in-text citations. Zotero implements APA style correctly here.

    For the duplicate item issue, the two citations are either citing duplicate items in your library, identical items in different group libraries, or one of them is a citation to an item you have since deleted from your library. Search for the item in your library and merge any duplicates. If there aren't any, figure out which citation (1983a or 1983b) is to the item in your library (in the Add/Edit Citation window in Word, click the blue bubble for the item and see which one has a "Show in My Library" button). Replace all of the citations with that item in your document (e.g., copy-paste the 1983a citation over all the 1983b citations).
  • Thank you. I will try this. My APA edition 6 book does not indicate first name before the surname. It might be outdated. Kathleen
  • I was able to correct some of the a and b citations. However, for one author, it did not work. The reference page still lists two of the same citations. Since I just updated from Zotero 4 to Zotero 5.0, do you think that is the problem? Thanks.
  • No, almost certainly not related to 4--> 5 update.

    Does one show as a) the other as b) as per bwiernik's description above? For which one does the citation show up in the text?
  • I think that the problem citations are the ones that I deleted from my library. I searched all the files and only found one citation. I then went through and changed all of them to the one in my library, which shows up in the reference section as (b). When I refreshed, the (a) reference was removed from the reference list, but the remaining citation retained the (b) as did all the in text citations. What happens if I go into each citation and remove the (b)? Can I also remove the (b) from the reference?
  • You certainly shouldn't manually remove the (b) from citations. If you click the Add/Edit Bibliography button do you only see one entry for this item in the dialog? What about if you click "Revert all" in the bottom left?
  • what happens if I do manually delete the (b) from the intext citation and the reference?
  • The bibliography will get the (b) back once you cite anything or remove a citation and the bibliography needs to be updated. For the intext citation you will be prompted by Zotero that it has detected a change and if you choose to keep that change then the intext citation won't be updated if you modify the item in Zotero (author, date, etc.).

    The recommended way to fix this is certainly to find what's causing the (b) to be added, beginning with looking whether there's multiple entries listed in the bibliography edit dialog.
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