# How to deal with two different authors with the same surname and same first name initials in biblatex?

I am citing two papers by two different groups of authors. The first authors have the same surname and additionally their first names have the same initials (but are not the same names). Their middle names are different. The first author of one of the papers additionally is the second author of the other paper. Also the publications are from the same year.

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage[style=authoryear-comp,maxcitenames=2,maxbibnames=10,url=false,doi=false,isbn=false,dashed=false,firstinits=true]{biblatex}

\DeclareNameAlias{sortname}{last-first}

\begin{filecontents}{biblio.bib}
@article{smithaa,
title = {Some title},
year = {2000},
author = {Smith, Aaron A and Meyer, M and Fitzgerald, F},
journal = {Some journal}
}
@article{smithaz,
title = {Another title},
year = {2000},
author = {Smith, Anton Z and Smith, A A and Doe, John},
journal = {Another journal}
}
@article{differentxy,
title = {Just something else},
year = {2003},
author = {Different, Jason J and Person, Other O and Human, Another A},
journal = {Different Journal}
}
\end{filecontents}

\begin{document}
\parencites{smithaa}{smithaz}.

\parencite{differentxy}.

\printbibliography
\end{document}


With this I get an in-text citation like this:

(Smith et al. 2000a; Smith et al. 2000b).
(Different et al. 2003).


And bibliography entries like this:

Different, J., Person, O., and Human, A. (2003). “Just something else”. In: Different Journal.
Smith, A. A., Meyer, M, and Fitzgerald, F (2000a). “Some title”. In: Some journal.
Smith, A. Z., Smith, A. A., and Doe, J. (2000b). “Another title”. In: Another journal.


However, I think, this is very confusing as it suggests that both publications are written by the same Smith.

I would rather get something like this in the text:

(Smith, A. A. et al. 2000; Smith, A. Z. et al. 2000).
(Different et al. 2003).


In the 'normal' citation (Different et al.) the name should still be shown without the initials.

In the bibliography there should be no "a" and "b" behind the dates:

Different, J., Person, O., and Human, A. (2003). “Just something else”. In: Different Journal.
Smith, A. A., Meyer, M, and Fitzgerald, F (2000). “Some title”. In: Some journal.
Smith, A. Z., Smith, A. A., and Doe, J. (2000). “Another title”. In: Another journal.

-

Pasing the uniquename=init option to biblatex produces:

with the authors distinguished by their initials. uniquename accepts a number of other options to disambiguate references. See the biblatex documentation.

If you wish to get

\DeclareNameAlias{labelname}{last-first}


to your preamble. However, as you note this adds initials to all citations. To print initials only for those citations that need disambiguation, use

\DeclareNameFormat{labelname}{%
\ifcase\value{uniquename}%
\usebibmacro{name:last}{#1}{#3}{#5}{#7}%
\or
\ifuseprefix
{\usebibmacro{name:last-first}{#1}{#4}{#5}{#8}}
{\usebibmacro{name:last-first}{#1}{#4}{#6}{#8}}%
\or
\usebibmacro{name:last-first}{#1}{#3}{#5}{#7}%
\fi
\usebibmacro{name:andothers}}


instead. This code is a simple modification of of the format declaration for labelname provided by the standard file biblatex.def.

Here is a complete file with its output:

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage[style=authoryear-comp,maxcitenames=2,maxbibnames=10,
url=false,doi=false,isbn=false,dashed=false,
firstinits=true,uniquename=init]{biblatex}

\DeclareNameAlias{sortname}{last-first}
\DeclareNameFormat{labelname}{%
\ifcase\value{uniquename}%
\usebibmacro{name:last}{#1}{#3}{#5}{#7}%
\or
\ifuseprefix
{\usebibmacro{name:last-first}{#1}{#4}{#5}{#8}}
{\usebibmacro{name:last-first}{#1}{#4}{#6}{#8}}%
\or
\usebibmacro{name:last-first}{#1}{#3}{#5}{#7}%
\fi
\usebibmacro{name:andothers}}

\begin{filecontents}{biblio.bib}
@article{smithaa,
title = {Some title},
year = {2000},
author = {Smith, Aaron A and Meyer, M and Fitzgerald, F},
journal = {Some journal}
}
@article{smithaz,
title = {Another title},
year = {2000},
author = {Smith, Anton Z and Smith, A A and Doe, John},
journal = {Another journal}
}
@article{differentxy,
title = {Just something else},
year = {2003},
author = {Different, Jason J and Person, Other O and Human, Another A},
journal = {Different Journal}
}
\end{filecontents}


A good reason to switch to the biber backend. If you were really using bibtex, then should have passed backend=bibtex to biblatex, as biber is now the default. – Andrew Swann Jul 31 '13 at 10:04