I am 'transitioning' from Word/Endnote to LaTeX (via Texshop)/Bibdesk - for book writing. I use the Chicago's footnote style (author-title). I want the first citation to be full, including the full title, and subsequent citations to show only a short form of the title. For example:

First citation:

C. Andrew, The Defence of the Realm - The Authorized History of MI5 (London: Penguin, 2012).

Second citation:

Andrew, The Defence of the Realm.

(At the moment, my second citation is: "Andrew, The Defence of the Realm - The Authorized History of MI5")

Here is my code:


I use BibTeX as my Engine in TeXshop, and XeLaTex to compile. In Bibdesk I have added the field Short, to give me a short title. I have spent hours online, including on this site (which has been an absolute godsend!), trying to figure it out, to no avail.

Many thanks for your help... I am sorry if there is an obvious answer which I have missed. Please forgive a newbie...:-)

1 Answer 1


In this case it makes sense to split the title into title and subtitle.



  author    = {Christopher Andrew},
  title     = {The Defence of the Realm},
  subtitle  = {The Authorized History of MI5},
  date      = {2012},
  location  = {London},
  publisher = {Penguin},


Lorem\autocite{andrew} ipsum\autocite{sigfridsson} dolor\autocite{andrew}

(I can't upload pictures at the moment, so I can only offer a copy-paste of the PDF).

Footnote 1 reads

Christopher Andrew, The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 (London: Penguin, 2012).

and footnote 3

Andrew, The Defence of the Realm.

Alternatively you could use title and shorttitle

  author     = {Christopher Andrew},
  title      = {The Defence of the Realm -- The Authorized History of MI5},
  shorttitle = {The Defence of the Realm},
  date       = {2012},
  location   = {London},
  publisher  = {Penguin},

But that duplicates information and does not allow for a universally enforced separator between title and subtitle.

There is no field short so simply using that won't work.

Note that you may want to switch from BibTeX to Biber, see Biblatex with Biber: Configuring my editor to avoid undefined citations. Only Biber lets you use all of biblatex's features, with BibTeX you are stuck with a reduced set of features.

  • Thank you! It didn't work but I will keep trying....Cecile
    – Cecile
    Sep 3, 2018 at 6:39
  • @Cecile What did not work and how did it not work. Please provide more details about what you did, the output you expected, what you got instead and the warnings and error messages you received in the .log and .blg file.
    – moewe
    Sep 3, 2018 at 6:45
  • Actually. I wrote too quickly. I managed to fiddle with it, and it now works! THank you! Cecile
    – Cecile
    Sep 3, 2018 at 6:50

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