# Problem: Different authors result in same citation symbol

Behavior: Using biblatex's alphabetic style, I'm citing "Mr. Stark" and "Stack Exchange Inc.", both of 2010. In both cases I get [Sta10] as a reference symbol.

Problem: The reader cannot know whom I'm citing.

Desired behavior: I'd like different reference symbols, for instance [Sta10a] and [Sta10b]. (This actually works when it's the same author, but not when the authors are different.)

Any hints are highly appreciated. Thank you!

Example:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[style=alphabetic]{biblatex}
\usepackage{filecontents}
\begin{filecontents}{same_but_different.bib}
@misc{A, author = {{Stack Exchange Inc.}}, year = {2010}}
@misc{B, author = {Starck, Erik}, year = {2010}}
}
\end{filecontents}
\bibliography{same_but_different}

\begin{document}

\emph{Stark} claims something \cite{A} to which \emph{Stack Exchange} cannot agree \cite{B}.
Unfortunately, they get the same citition symbol.

\printbibliography
\end{document}


Result:

-
Note that in biblatex, \bibliography is deprecated, the use of \addbibresource (with the .bib file extension) instead is recommended. See section 3.5.1 of the biblatex documentation. –  doncherry Jan 8 '12 at 12:04

With biber instead of bibtex you can do this easily:

\usepackage[
backend=biber,
style=alphabetic,
uniquename=true
]{biblatex}


Other possible values for uniquename are described in the biblatex documentation.

This option only works with biber, not with bibtex. The switch is easy, where you now call bibtex.exe, replace it with biber.exe. Your compilation procedure would then be pdflatex, biber, pdflatex. More detailed instructions are here: How to use biber and What to do to switch to biblatex.

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It works now. Thanks a lot! Would you be able to include your comment -- switch to biber -- into the answer so that it is complete? –  Felix Alcala Dec 6 '11 at 15:26
I added the comment to the original answer and deleted the comment. –  matth Dec 6 '11 at 15:36
I marked this as the answer as it provides an automatic solution, making the whole process less error-prone. However, please take note of @Tobi's comment uli's answer: "I’d prefer something like SX10 for the Stack Exchange citation, cause Sta10a and Sta10b will look like they are from the same author". In that case, uli's answer provides a way to override the generated names. Both can be used in combination. So thank you both! –  Felix Alcala Dec 6 '11 at 15:43
One thing to note for the future also is that biber also allows users to completely customise the template/format of the label but that functionality isn't exposed in biblatex yet - will probably be in biblatex 2.x. –  PLK Dec 6 '11 at 17:28

According to the biblatex documentation you could use a shorthand to overwrite the default label, and help biblatex here.

@misc{A, shorthand = {Sta10a}, author = {{Stack Exchange Inc.}}, year = {2010}}
@misc{B, shorthand = {Sta10b}, author = {Starck, Erik}, year = {2010}}

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@FelixAlcala: I’d prefer something like SX10 for the Stack Exchange citation, cause Sta10a and Sta10b will look like they are from the same author … –  Tobi Dec 6 '11 at 15:18
@Tobi: good point! –  Felix Alcala Dec 6 '11 at 15:28