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Question

In my .bib file, I want to add a book that has a "main" and a "subsidiary" title.

Which field should I use for the subsidiary title: titleaddon or subtitle? (The biblatex documentation is not clear enough on that point for me - cf. §2.2.2 on page 23.) What is the difference between the two in practice?


Example

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Considering previous book, which of following entry is the most indicated (changes in the penultimate line only) ?

@Book{Williams2002,
 Title                    = {Free as in Freedom},
 Author                   = {Williams, Sam},
 Publisher                = {O'Reilly Media},
 Year                     = {2002},
 ISBN                     = {0-596-00287-4},
 Titleaddon               = {Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software}
}

or

@Book{Williams2002,
 Title                    = {Free as in Freedom},
 Author                   = {Williams, Sam},
 Publisher                = {O'Reilly Media},
 Year                     = {2002},
 ISBN                     = {0-596-00287-4},
 Subtitle                 = {Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software}
}
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    The difference in output is that the subtitle will be treated like title (i.e. it is also in italics/quotes) and separated from title by \subtitlepunct. titleaddon has its own format (normally plain, I believe) and is separated by the standard \newunit. The idea is that titleaddon gives non-essential information about the work, in biblatex-examples.bib that is often something like "Proceedings of the ...". In this case I'm tempted to say it is a subtitle, but what do I know ...
    – moewe
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 13:20
  • 2
    The biblatex-chicago doc mentions titleaddon quite a bit, maybe that can give you a feel. I feel that titleaddon is more of a meta field while subtitle is on the same level as title.
    – moewe
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 13:25

1 Answer 1

30

The main difference between subtitle and titleaddon is the presentation in the bibliography. While subtitle is set in the same style as the title and connected by a special \subtitlepunct, titleaddon is (by default, you can of course change that) set in normal font. This can make one feel that titleaddon is not as closely connected to the title as subtitle.

Indeed in biblatex-examples.bib you will find titleaddon used to add a description like "Proceedings of the ...". The example files to biblatex-chicago use titleaddon either as a replacement for a proper title or to provide additional information such as "review of ..." or "interview with ...".

All in all, I would say that the titleaddon is often used in a "meta" capacity to give additional information or to replacing a missing title. subtitle on the other hand is mostly on the same level as title.

In your case then, I would probably go for subtitle, but that is just my gut feeling.

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