7

I'm trying to compile the following MWE:

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{filecontents}
\begin{filecontents}{\jobname.bib}
@article{ab_cd_2015,
  author = {{N{\"o}me}, Name},
  year         = {2014},
  title        = "Why Is Apple Launching a New Version of the {{iPod}}?"
}

\end{filecontents}

\begin{document}

Random citation \cite{ab_cd_2015} embeddeed in text.

 % acm, plain works
 % alpha, alphadin, alphaurl, geralpha work not
\bibliographystyle{alpha}
\bibliography{\jobname}

\end{document}

When I compile this, I get:

(./mwe.aux) (./mwe.bbl
! Argument of \OT1\" has an extra }.
<inserted text> 
                \par 
l.1 \begin{thebibliography}{{N{\"}}14}

When I change author to either {N{\"o}me, Name}, {{N{o}me}, Name} or {N\"ome, Name} it compiles fine. What is it about {{N{\"o}me}, Name} that triggers the error? I generate the BibTeX from Zotero, and I'm trying to come up with rules that generate working BibTeX, this one has me stumped.

9
  • Sorry, but Zotero is known for handing malformed bib entries. In particular, author={{N{\"o}me}, Name} is absurd.
    – egreg
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 16:47
  • You can't pin this on Zotero -- this is my own doing. I'm trying to reduce the absurdity to the minimum, but it's not just bracing: author = {nN\"ome, Name} also flames out.
    – retorquere
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 18:56
  • N\"ome is wrong anyway.
    – egreg
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 19:03
  • OK, learn something new everyday. I don't generate that, but I always though \" meant "put umlauts on next char". Thanks, that clears that up for me.
    – retorquere
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 19:07
  • It's wrong in a BibTeX author field, where it must be N{\"o}me
    – egreg
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 19:10

1 Answer 1

2

The field

author = {{N{\"o}me}, Name},

is malformed, according to the (complex) rules of BibTeX, because it produces the faulty entry

\bibitem[{N{\"}}14]{ab_cd_2015}

in the .bbl file.

Essentially, the inner braces are ignored, so you end up as if the name was

N\"ome

which would produce almost the same, that is,

\bibitem[N\"14]{ab_cd_2015}

The only difference are the missing braces.

With

author = {N{\"o}me, Name},

you get the correct

\bibitem[N{\"o}m14]{ab_cd_2015}

Note that the number of letters is as expected, that is, three. Also in the previous cases there are three tokens, but not the ones LaTeX expects.

4
  • OK, that gets me closer to understanding what's going on. I've seen that 14 crop up, but I can't trace back why it does. So the best approach would then be to not wrap braces around the last name, as a general rule?
    – retorquere
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 18:58
  • For some reason, adding \relax after the opening brace allows all the failing samples I could throw at it so far to compile. Is this safe to do? I'm stuck with the task of translating "whatever is in Zotero" to "BibTeX that compiles always" algorithmically.
    – retorquere
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 19:01
  • I had been adding braces around the last name to account for things like particles, such as described here: nwalsh.com/tex/texhelp/bibtx-23.html
    – retorquere
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 19:19
  • I have a very similar case. Hovever, the author surname contains of two parts, namely {D{\'i}az Alonso}, Javier, i.e. the braces are necessary. What do I do in such a case?
    – Mik
    Commented Nov 13, 2017 at 16:16

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