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The IEEE citation format uses inline numbering like [1] or [1,13] to refer to cited works. This coincidentally can look a lot like mathematical closed intervals when there are two numbers. While the reader of the document might gather from the context of a sentence whether something is a citation or a mathematical interval, it can be a little confusing when scanning the page. This is a minor issue of style I know, but I'm curious as to whether there's a standard workaround people use for visually disambiguating citations and intervals.

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    this similarity never occurred to me. however, i suspect that mathematicians who write in areas using the closed-interval notation might adopt the "alpha" style of referencing to avoid conflict; this style is one of several accepted by the ams (the others being numeric, the more usual, and author-year, primarily for historical surveys), but i don't know about ieee. – barbara beeton Jan 28 '14 at 13:02
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    For this IEEE always modifies the references, and adds extra brackets (see [1],[13]) or e.g., [1],[13] etc. type of identifiers. Moreover, the references appear in the order of citation so they are often compressed. So the context is clear from the sentences. Also online versions of the articles have different colors for references. – percusse Jan 28 '14 at 13:35
  • @percusse Fair enough - I should have actually verified the citation behavior with exactly two citations. I guess then the issue is really that an interval might be confused for a citation by someone unfamiliar with IEEE's extra bracket rule, but by the sounds of it the reverse problem can't happen. – Bryce Thomas Jan 28 '14 at 13:51
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    @percusse why don't you write an answer? :) – Mario S. E. Mar 6 '14 at 11:02
  • @MarioS.E. OK. It took me a while. – percusse Jul 13 '15 at 21:49
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For this IEEE always modifies the references, and adds extra brackets (see [1],[13]) or e.g., [1],[13] etc. type of identifiers. Moreover, the references appear in the order of citation so they are often compressed. So the context is clear from the sentences. Also online versions of the articles have different colors for references.

Moreover, as far as I know, citations don't use math-mode brackets which are slightly larger than text mode bracket characters.

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    In my lecture notes I use a pair of low dots for separating the extremes of an interval: [a..b] – egreg Jul 13 '15 at 23:20

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