I am using BibLaTeX, ibidem tracker and referencing in footnotes. The problem is, when I put a reference (\cite) inside a footnote, the ibidem tracker seems to ignore this reference. So, whenever there is the next reference outside of the footnote, mistakenly this reference might be replaced by "ibid" even though it is not the same as the previous reference found in the footnote.

It does work correctly if I use \autocites instead of citing within a footnote, but I don't want to do this, as I have lengthy footnotes with several quotes and it is inconvenient to put all the text in pre-/postnotes.

Edit: The issue seems to occur when I use polyglossia with an alternative language that has RTL script (such as Hebrew or Arabic). It doesn't matter whether the RTL language is actually used in the document or not, so it seems that package configurations are interfering.

This is my MWE:


\setdefaultlanguage{english}  % or other LTR language
\setotherlanguage{hebrew} % or other RTL language (arabic)
\usepackage[style=authortitle-icomp, backend=biber, autocite=footnote, idemtracker=constrict, opcittracker=constrict, loccittracker=constrict, citetracker=context]{biblatex}
    author = "John Doe",
    location = "New York",
    publisher = "Springer",
    shorttitle = "Wheel",
    title = "The Invention of the Wheel",
    year = "2002"

    author = "John Smith",
    location = "Boston",
    publisher = "Bookhouse",
    title = "Paradigm Shift",
    year = "2004"
Reference 1 to Doe\autocite[See][258]{Doe2002}.

Text and footnote references.\footnote{\cite[See][36]{Smith2004} and also \cite[see][187--195]{Doe2002}.}

%Text and cites references.\autocites[See][36]{Smith2004}[and also][187--195]{Doe2002}

Text and reference 3 (to Doe).\autocite[See][258]{Doe2002}

I would expect the following references:

  • See Doe 2002 (p. 258)
  • See Smith 2004 (p. 36), See Doe 2002 (p. 187-195)
  • See Doe 2002 (p. 258)

However, what I get is this:

  • See Doe 2002 (p. 258)
  • See Smith 2004 (p. 36), See Doe 2002 (p. 187-195)
  • See ibid.

So, the last reference is only "ibid" without specifying a page number. Thus, it mistakenly refers back to the very first reference, ignoring the references in the footnote.

Do you know how this can be fixed? I am using XeTeX 3.1415926-2.5-0.9999.3-2014012222 (TeX Live 2013/Debian) and biber 1.8.

This person seems to have had a similar problem, though for a different reason (combining BibLaTeX with memoir):

Difference between \footcite and \cite in BibLaTeX

  • 2
    Your example doesn't give the output that you say that it gives, which makes it harder to help. But anyway, why do you have a lot of "context" and "constrict" options that tracks footnotes and body text separately. Isn't this what you are trying to avoid?
    – pst
    Commented Dec 3, 2016 at 22:33
  • As pst notes, with a up-to-date installation the output of your MWE is different. Please update your question to make sure the output of your code matches with what you claim it shows. I get "ibid" with a page number, for example. Furthermore, all citations are in footnotes in your example, so I don't understand why the last "ibid" would mistakenly refer to the first citation?
    – moewe
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 11:47
  • Sorry, I have now corrected the MWE. The issue only seems to come up when the line \setotherlanguage{hebrew} is present - no matter if I actually use Hebrew in the document or not. I can also replace Hebrew with Arabic and it's the same thing, which makes we think it is an RTL issue. If I change the line to \setotherlanguage{french}, everything works correctly.
    – greektex
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 17:07
  • @pst This is a very good point. I changed the trackers to "strict" which solved the problem.
    – greektex
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 17:16
  • 1
    You get a warning: 'Patching footnotes failed. Footnote detection will not work.' This seems to be bug problem with biblatex: github.com/plk/biblatex/issues/412, see also tex.stackexchange.com/q/229182/35864
    – moewe
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 17:30

1 Answer 1


This issue has now been fixed in biblatex 3.8. You should now get proper tracking of citations within footnotes for RTL languages. See https://github.com/plk/biblatex/pull/576 for details.


  author = {John Doe},
  location = {New York},
  publisher = {Springer},
  shorttitle = {Wheel},
  title = {The Invention of the Wheel},
  year = {2002}
  author = {John Smith},
  location = {Boston},
  publisher = {Bookhouse},
  title = {Paradigm Shift},
  year = {2004}
\parindent 0em
\verb+\autocite+ to Doe\autocite[See][258]{Doe2002}.

\verb+\autocites+ to Smith and Doe \autocites[See][36]{Smith2004}[and

\verb+\autocite+ to Doe \autocite[See][258]{Doe2002}.

\verb+\footnote{\cite+ to Smith and \verb+\cite+ to
Doe\verb+}+.\footnote{\cite[See][36]{Smith2004} and also

\verb+\autocite+ to Doe\autocite[See][258]{Doe2002}.

\verb+\footnote{\cites+ to Smith and

\verb+\autocite+ to Doe\autocite[See][258]{Doe2002}.


enter image description here

  • tex.stackexchange.com/q/229182/35864 is about the same problem. Do you want to answer there as well or close as a duplicate?
    – moewe
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 8:55
  • I can confirm this second one works fine now. I think close it as a duplicate. I don't have enough reputation to do this though. Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 13:25
  • Unfortunately, I can't vote to close either (voted to close an earlier unclear version of the question). Maybe we need to ask someone else.
    – moewe
    Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 17:25
  • OK. I'll give an answer. Commented Nov 16, 2017 at 22:34

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