My bibtex style outputs

Newton, S. I. Opticks, or a treatise of the reflections, refractions, inflections and colours of light [Text] / Sir Isaac Newton. [S. l.], 1730. 382 p. Google Books : XXu4AkRVBBoC.

for the following BibTeX entry

author = {Newton, Sir Isaac},
title = {Opticks, or a treatise of the reflections,
refractions, inflections and colours of light},
publisher = {William Innys},
url = {http://books.google.com/books?id=XXu4AkRVBBoC},
year = {1730},
numpages = {382},
eprint = {XXu4AkRVBBoC},
eprinttype = {Google Books},

How should I change the field

author = {Newton, Sir Isaac},

obtain something reasonable rather than Newton, S. I.? Note that second occurrence of Newton's name (Sir Isaac Newton) is correct.

Incidentally, what would be the correct address: "Sir Isaac" or "Sir Newton"?

  • 9
    In references you do not need to refer to a persons qualifications nor titles. So I would not add it. If you really want it you can escape the sir by adding it in a group {Sir} or {\relax Sir}. See: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/26332/… – zeroth Feb 1 '12 at 16:34
  • 6
    The Sir belongs to the first name. So it would be Sir Isaac or Sir Isaac Newton, but never Sir Newton. More info and references can be found on en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir. – Andy Feb 1 '12 at 16:38

The following form of the author field will work even if your bibliography style is set to abbreviate first names down to their initials:

author = "{\relax Sir I}saac Newton",
  • 2
    Don't you need {\relax Sir I}saac Newton (which is still simpler than my answer), otherwise abbrv style at least treats the whole brace group as a letter so you get Sir Isaac. with a full stop after the full name, – David Carlisle Feb 1 '12 at 17:14
  • You're right! I'll make the change right away. (I had only tested out my answer with a .bst file that abbreviates first names without adding a period (emm, full stop). – Mico Feb 1 '12 at 18:03
  • 1
    I get a space in front of the sir if I change firstinits to false (using biblatex v2.9a). \newcommand\Sir{Sir} in the preambel and author = "{\Sir{} I}saac Newton", in the bib-file seems to be working with both firstinits true and false. – jakun Jul 1 '17 at 12:33
  • 1
    @Mico no, it was a comment on your answer. I have tried this again with biblatex v3.7. For firstinits=true (or giveninits=true as it is preferred to be called in this version) the output is the same but for firstinits=false I get a space in front of the Sir with your solution. I don't know why it behaves that way, but that is what I am observing. Otherwise I would prefer your solution because I do not like this dependency of the bib file on the tex file. – jakun Jul 7 '17 at 18:10
  • @jakun - I've posted a query to inquire what can be done if biber is used as the backend and the option giveninits=false is set. – Mico Jul 8 '17 at 7:45

The title Sir is always used with the first name so never Sir Newton. usually titles are omitted from bilbliographies I think, but if you want {Sir Isaac} to be get the initial I possibly the simplest is to hide the Sir part in a macro so mark it up as something like {\Sir I}saac with \Sir defined to put Sir back on full names and do nothing if just given I (or leave it as Sir I., which is simper).

This has been edited to get the BibTeX braces more correct, it seems to work as given if \Sir defined simply as \newcommand\Sir{Sir }

  • I assume that bibtex DB should be self consistent. That's why I prefer Mico's answer. – Igor Kotelnikov Feb 1 '12 at 17:28
  • As I said in my comment to Mico;s answer, using \relax is simpler (but I think the brace placement needs adjusting) – David Carlisle Feb 1 '12 at 17:35

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