Several journals want the authors' initials to be punctuated, while others don't. Is there a bibliography style to set this behavior and if yes, which is the best compiling method? I mean: Evins, S. or Evins, S ?

I have another doubt: do I have to contact the journal name directly in the field or there's also a style for this? Usually editors want the contacted form.


When you are entering names in a .bib file you should always put a full stop after the initials. That is crucial because it signals that the letter in question is an initial. If you put Evins, S, then "S" could be a very short name: if you put Evins, S. then it's clearly an initial.

If you know what the S stands for, you shouldn't put the initial at all, but the name: Evins, Sylvester.

A bibtex (or biblatex) style will produce initials and include punctuation (like full stops) if it is required, depending on the style's requirements. It's perfectly capable of taking "Evins, Sylvester" and producing "S. Evans" or "S Evans".

As far as journal abbreviations (contractions) are concerned, bibtex will not automatically contract these. You have three options.

You can use bibliography strings. To do this you define a string

@string{ lqr = {Law Quarterly Review}}

and then, in your entries you put

@article{ ...
  journal = lqr,

then if you decide you want "Law Q. Rev." as the contraction some time, you simply change the string entry, so that it reads

@string{ lqr = {L.~Q.\ Rev.}}

and the individual articles are all adjusted accordingly.

An alternative approach, I believe, is to use the ability of software which maintains bibtex databases (such as JabRef) to carry out such replacements, i.e. you actually produce an altered .bib file. Key here, of course, is to make sure that you have at least been consistent in the way you have named journals, so that a search-and-replace is feasible and accurate.

The final approach, if/when you use biblatex is to allow it to do the search-and-replace; but that (though very feasible) is probably a more advanced topic.

Bottom line: individual bibliography style files will usually not do this for you, but you can still automate it quite easily so long as you have been consistent. Consistency is really important.

  • If you enter a name in an author field as "Evans, S", then the very presence of the (single) comma forces BibTeX to treat "S" as the first name. – Mico May 5 '13 at 23:11

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