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I would like to know what the difference is between \usepackage[authordate,backend=biber]{biblatex-chicago} and \usepackage[style=chicago-authordate,backend=biber]{biblatex}?

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Have a look at the package file biblatex-chicago.sty and you will see the difference. The main differences are the passed options of biblatex, the definition of the environment thebibliography and the option nomark. – Marco Daniel Jun 9 '12 at 17:13
Thanks. They both have problems with the cbytranslator and cbyeditor fields. I am not quite sure why? – pluton Jun 9 '12 at 17:18
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Quoting from section 5.5.1 of the biblatex-chicago manual (a full reading of this section is recommended):

[...] With early versions of biblatex-chicago, the standard way of loading the package was via a call to biblatex, e.g.:


Now, the default way to load the style, and one that will in the vast majority of standard cases produce the same results as the old invocation, will look like this:


If you read through biblatex-chicago.sty, you’ll see that it sets a number of biblatex options aimed at following the Chicago specification, as well as setting a few formatting variables intended as reasonable defaults [...]. Some parts of this specification, however, are plainly more “suggested” than “required,” and indeed many publishers, while adopting the main skeleton of the Chicago style in citations, nonetheless maintain their own house styles to which the defaults I have provided do not conform.

If you only need to change one or two parameters, this can easily be done by putting different options in the call to biblatex-chicago or redefining other formatting variables in the preamble, thereby overriding the package defaults. If, however, you wish more substantially to alter the output of the package[...], then you may want to revert to the old style of invocation above. You’ll lose all the definitions in biblatex-chicago.sty[...]

What you will not lose is the ability to call the package options annotation, strict, short, and noibid [...], in case these continue to be useful to you when constructing your own modifications. There’s very little code, therefore, actually in biblatex-chicago.sty[...]

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it looks to me that calling \usepackage{biblatex-chicago} is now (July 20, 2012) broken with version 2.0 of the biblatex package while calling \usepackage[style=chicago-authordate]{biblatex} is no problem. – pluton Jul 20 '12 at 13:15
Just to note that in 2015 \usepackage{biblatex-chicago} is the correct way to invoke the package. – Andrew Cashner Aug 20 '15 at 20:24

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