Frequently Asked Question List for TeX


Multiple citations

A convention sometimes used in physics journals is to “collapse” a group of related citations into a single entry in the bibliography. BibTeX, by default, can’t cope with this arrangement, but the mcite and mciteplus packages deal with the problem.

mcite overloads the \cite command to recognise a * at the start of a key, so that citations of the form


appear in the document as a single citation, and appear arranged appropriately in the bibliography itself. You’re not limited to collapsing just two references. You can mix “collapsed” references with “ordinary” ones, as in


Which will appear in the document as 3 citations “[4,7,11]” (say) — citation “4” will refer to paper 0, “7” will refer to a combined entry for paper 1 and paper 2, and “11” will refer to paper 3.

You need to make a small change to the bibliography style (bst) file you use; the mcite package documentation tells you how to do that.

Most recent versions of REVTeX (version 4.1 and later), in conjunction with recent versions of natbib, already contain support for combined citations and so no longer even need mciteplus (but mciteplus is more general and will work with many other class and package combinations).

The mciteplus package adresses many of the infelicites of mcite. Again, “ordinary” bst files will not work with mciteplus, but the package documentation explains how to patch an existing BibTeX style.

The collref package takes a rather different approach to the problem, and will work with most (if not all) BibTeX packages. Collref spots common subsets of the references, so if it sees a sequence


it will collect paper1 and paper2 as a multiple reference.

FAQ ID: Q-mcite
Tags: citations