Umlaut in alphabetic citation keys in biblatex

My citation organisation tool of choice (so far) exports umlauts like ö as \"{o}. When these occur in the beginning of the first author's name of a bib entry, the citation shorthand is generated from the letters before the umlaut and with the dots above the first number of the year.

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage[style=alphabetic,backend=bibtex]{biblatex}

\usepackage{filecontents}
\begin{filecontents}{lib.bib}
@book{Goethe1773,
author = {von G\"{o}the, JW},
title = {Götz von Berlichingen},
year = {1773}
}
\end{filecontents}

\begin{document}

In~\cite{Goethe1773}...

\printbibliography
\end{document}


When I change the \"{o} manually to {\"o}, the shorthand is consistent with the others (Göt73), when I change it to ö itself, it becomes Gö73 (without t).

Can I get Göt73 without manually editing each umlaut-containing bib entry each time I export my library? (With biber as backend this is what I get in all three cases, however, there are other problems with my library.)

• Well as it works fine with biber: solve whatever problem you have with this backend. bibtex expects the other input and doesn't handle utf8 correctly. – Ulrike Fischer May 22 '15 at 8:52
• Sorry, but isn't the name spelled "Goethe"?! To me, "Göthe" looks plain awful. – Mico May 22 '15 at 9:13
• Using ö instead of \"{o} works fine for me, using latexmk in MiKTeX. – bers Aug 1 '19 at 7:07

First of all, the specific example can be better solved using the correct spelling for the name, which is Goethe, but I'll assume that this choice was deliberate in order not to mention any specific real case.

The correct syntax with BibTeX is

G{\"{o}}the


There's nothing you can do about it, except fixing the entries.

On the other hand, if you use Biber, you can type either

G\"othe


or

Göthe


Here's an example:

\begin{filecontents}{\jobname.bib}
@book{Goethe1773,
author = {von G{\"{o}}the, JW},
title = {Götz von Berlichingen},
year = {1773}
}
@book{Goethe1773x,
author = {von G\"othe, JW},
title = {Götz von Berlichingen},
year = {1773}
}
@book{Goethe1773y,
author = {von Göthe, JW},
title = {Götz von Berlichingen},
year = {1773}
}
\end{filecontents}

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
\usepackage[style=alphabetic,backend=biber]{biblatex}

\begin{document}

In~\cite{Goethe1773}, in \cite{Goethe1773x}
and in \cite{Goethe1773y}

\printbibliography
\end{document}


If you examine the .bbl file, you'll find a difference between the three items: in the first the author turns out to be G{ö}the, which may be relevant as far as collation is concerned, but a rough test seems to reveal it isn't.

• Doesn't the question already mention Biber (and rule it out)? – Joseph Wright May 22 '15 at 8:56
• @JosephWright Yes, I added the Biber example and pointed out that there's nothing to do when BibTeX is used. – egreg May 22 '15 at 9:03
• Thinking about down-voting this answer and any others that mis-spell "Goethe" as "Göthe", or "G{\"o}the", or some other variant that generates an Umlaut... – Mico May 22 '15 at 9:19
• @Mico I guess that the OP wanted to deliberately use a wrongly spelled name, so not to point to any specific real case. I added some words about this to my answer. By the way, in these days I'm reading “Italienische Reise” (in Italian translation). – egreg May 22 '15 at 9:26
• It would have been nice if the OP had had the decency to use "Gödel" as the name for these trials... – Mico May 22 '15 at 9:27