# Biber failed to identify author name with “-”

When the author name with "-", biber tends to generate dummy characters around the name. For example, one input in bib file as the following.

@article{Baker,
author = {Baker, F.B. and Al‐Karni, A},
journal = {Journal of Educational Measurement},
pages = {147--162},
title = {{A comparison of two procedures for computing IRT equating coefficients}},
url = {http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-3984.1991.tb00350.x/abstract},
volume = {28},
year = {1991}
}


when the above input compiled in latex, error message will be generated and if check back to the bbl file, the "-" became fffd...

\name{labelname}{2}{}{%
{B\bibinitperiod}{F.B.}{F\bibinitperiod}{}{}{}{}}%
{{uniquename=0,hash=bbeb8c73c9f3f7bd033ecb2e8bbdab2d}
{Al\x{fffd}\x{fffd}\x{fffd}Karni}{A\bibinitperiod}{A}{A\bibinitperiod}{}{}{}{}}%
}


and the output of pdflatex will be

Baker, F. & AlfffdfffdfffdKarni, A. (1991). A comparison of two procedures for computing IRT equating coefficients. Journal of Educational Measurement, 28, 147–162.

rather than the original one as

Baker, F. & Al-Karni, A. (1991). A comparison of two procedures for computing IRT equating coefficients. Journal of Educational Measurement, 28, 147–162.

Is it a bug of biber or biblatex? And how to fix it?

• Try to replace the dash by a normal dash: -. The dash in your file might be some weird unicode character that looks like a dash but isn't the normal one. (In fact, if you copy the character in Al‐Karni from your MWE and search for it on this page, you will only find that occurrence of the character; all the other dashes are different characters.) – moewe Apr 1 '14 at 11:53
• shall I delete it? Or what should I do? – xukun Apr 1 '14 at 12:03
• (The strange character is not that weird, it's a unicode HYPHEN. So totally the right kind of dash, except that with TeX you use normal ASCII "-".) – pst Apr 1 '14 at 12:03
• The reference was generated from Scopus and managed by Mendeley. – xukun Apr 1 '14 at 12:04
• question about a similar problem: LuaTeX won't end a line at Unicode emdash – barbara beeton Apr 1 '14 at 12:41

You can either change the character in the bib file with a simple hyphen.

Here's a different strategy that might be better with automatically generated bib entries.

\begin{filecontents*}{\jobname.bib}
@article{Baker,
author = {Baker, F. B. and Al‐Karni, A.},
journal = {Journal of Educational Measurement},
pages = {147--162},
title = {{A comparison of two procedures for computing IRT equating coefficients}},
url = {http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-3984.1991.tb00350.x/abstract},
volume = {28},
year = {1991}
}
\end{filecontents*}

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc} % avoid strange translations by Biber
\usepackage{url}
\usepackage{biblatex}

\usepackage{newunicodechar}
\newunicodechar{‐}{-} % the first is what's in Al‐Karni, the second is a normal hyphen


The filecontents* environment is just to have a self-contained example, use your own bib file.