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I would like to italicize the presenting author's name for conference papers in my bibliography. I am using biblatex and I don't know how to do it. (I also don't know how to do it with bibtex.)

I have tried changing

author = {John Smith and Jim Smythe}


author = {John Smith and \emph{Jim Smythe}}

and this works partially, but messes up the citation labels (SS12 becomes Se12, and S12 becomes 12). Is there a smart way to do this? I couldn't find help in the first 10 pages of search results here. Thank you!

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I also know that this can be done by editing the .bbl file, but I am hoping there is a way that doesn't require manual intervention every time the bibliography changes. – daveagp Mar 29 '12 at 18:56
Thanks to someone who left a comment and useful links --- but all previous advice I can see if for ``How do I italicize my own name?" whereas I am looking to italicize one arbitrary name in each bib item. – daveagp Mar 29 '12 at 18:59
That was me. I misread your first sentence before throwing together an answer. I posted an edit that should now address your question. – Audrey Mar 30 '12 at 3:29
up vote 10 down vote accepted

Person names are broken down into parts so they shouldn't be formatted. One way around this is to indicate the presenter with additional bibliographic data. Here we put the presenter's rank in the author list in the usera field. The first author is assumed the presenter when no rank is given.


  \ifboolexpr{ test {\ifcurrentname{author}} and test {\ifbibliography}
    and test {\ifentrytype{inproceedings}}
    and ( ( test {\iffieldundef{usera}}
            and test {\ifnumequal{\value{listcount}}{1}} )
          or test {\ifnumequal{\thefield{usera}+0}{\value{listcount}}} ) }



  author = {Bart-Smith, H. and Bastawros, A.-F. and Mumm, D. R. and
            Evans, A. G. and Sypeck, D. J. and Wadley, H. N. G.},
  usera = {2},
  title = {Compressive Deformation...},
  booktitle = {Porous and Cellular Materials for Structural Applications},
  pages = {71--81},
  editor = {Schwartz, D. S. and Shih, D. S. and Evans, A. G.
            and Wadley, H. N. G.},
  volume = 521,
  series = {Symposium Proceedings},
  location = {Warrendale, Pennsylvania},
  year = {1998},
  publisher = {Materials Research Society}}
  author = {Arzt, M. and Brocks, W. and Mohr, R.},
  usera = {3},
  title = {An implicit integration method...},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of CMEM 99},
  pages = {371--380},
  year = {1999},
  editor = {Carlomagno, C. M. and Brebbia, C. A.},
  volume = {2},
  series = {Computational Engineering},
  address = {Southhampton},
  publisher = {WIT Press},
  isbn = {1-85312-683-7}}


% just for demonstration

Filler text \cite{moraux,companion,bart,arzt}.
\citeauthor{moraux,bart,arzt} showed that...

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
Worked great! Thanks for the clean code too so I could edit it successfully for tweaking. usera is userawesome. – daveagp Mar 31 '12 at 17:09
@daveagp No problem. With biber you can rename fields. So in your bib file you can use a more informative field name like "presenter", but under the hood treat it like usera. – Audrey Mar 31 '12 at 17:19

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