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I've got a BibTeX entry:

   author = {L[eslie] A. Lamport},
   title = {The Gnats and Gnus Document Preparation System},
   journal = {\mbox{G-Animal's} Journal},
   year = 1986,

I couldn't figure out what the [] was for. As far as I searched, they are only used to pass arguments. What is their function here?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I suspect that this is editorial. It's usually recommended that bibliography databases contain information exactly as given in the source material. So here, the implication is that the article says 'L. A. Lamport'. This is clearly Leslie Lamport, and so the person writing the database entry has noted that in editorial (square) brackets.

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