Frequently Asked Question List for TeX


BibTeX doesn’t understand lists of names

BibTeX has a strict syntax for lists of authors’ (or editors’) names in the BibTeX data file; if you write the list of names in a “natural”-seeming way, the chances are you will confuse BibTeX, and the output produced will be quite different from what you had hoped.

Names should be expressed in one of the forms

First Last
Last, First
Last, Suffix, First

and lists of names should be separated with and. For example:

AUTHOR = {Fred Q. Bloggs, John P. Doe \&
          Another Idiot}

falls foul of two of the above rules: a syntactically significant comma appears in an incorrect place, and \& is being used as a name separator. The output of the above might be something like:

John P. Doe \& Another Idiot Fred Q. Bloggs

because “John P. Doe & Another Idiot has become the “first name”, while “Fred Q. Bloggs” has become the “last name” of a single person. The example should have been written:

AUTHOR = {Fred Q. Bloggs and John P. Doe and
          Another Idiot}

Some bibliography styles implement clever acrobatics with very long author lists. You can force truncation by using the pseudo-name others, which will usually translate to something like “et al” in the typeset output. So, if Mr. Bloggs wanted to distract attention from his co-authors, he would write:

AUTHOR = {Fred Q. Bloggs and others}

FAQ ID: Q-manyauthor