I am using acmsmall.zip from http://www.acm.org/publications/article-templates/acm-latex-style-guide and my bibliography looks weird :(. I am attaching a minimal example to highlight my problems. In this example I am using natbib but I have tried cite package as well and the results weren't any different.

    \title{A Multifrequency MAC Specially Designed for Wireless Sensor Network Applications}
    Using \cite{monte-carlo} and \cite{backblaze2014}.

Running this code produces

A Multifrequency MAC Specially Designed for Wireless Sensor Network Applications


Using [?? mon] and [bac 2014].


Monte Carlo method. (????).

  1. Hard Drive Reliability Update. (2014). https://www.backblaze.com/blog/ hard-drive-reliability-update-september-2014/.

I have couple of problems here. 1. I need numbers in front of references to show their position in the bibliography. 2. I do not want year to appear twice in the reference. 3. Do I need to have year and author name for each bib entry? Is this why those question marks appear in the reference entry?

The corresponding entries in the bibliography are

    title={{Monte Carlo method}},

    title={{Hard Drive Reliability Update}},
  • Using the entry type @article seems inappropriate for the two entries you've shown. The entry type @article has author, journal, and year among the required fields. I'd use the @misc entry type instead.
    – Mico
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 0:57
  • Wikipedia has a citation export for Bibtex that you can use. It will set the author to Wikipedia, which is quite strange. I suggest to change it to Wikipedia contributors.
    – Johannes_B
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 10:25
  • Citing your sources is essential. Maybe you can find some better sources than Wikipedia? Where does Wikipedia take its information from?
    – Johannes_B
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 10:26

1 Answer 1


This style seems to use author names and years in the reference abbreviations, i.e., something like [Smith94] instead of [1]. If that was the case, the weirdness would result because you do not supply authors (author = {...}) in your BibTeX entries.

On their website, it says:

The in-text citation style is as follows: For parenthetical citations we enclose the last name of the first author and year of publication, thus: [Burando 2007];

Thus, you probably just need to supply author and year in the BibTeX and get good-looking citations.

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