I'm trying to use biblatex-mla to make an annotated bibliography for a course of mine. One of the documents I need to cite is an online resource, and from what I see, the version online currently doesn't support the online, misc, and other tags I'd need to use. So I thought that I would modify the file myself to add an online citation to the mla package (and then possibly send the diff to the creator to get it added).

Unfortunately, I don't really know the biblatex syntax that well and have run into a bit of a snag. I've got this declaration for the online tag:

    author = "Jonathan Sternberg",
    title = "Title",
    annotation = "This is a test"

And here's my current driver for the online tag:


For some reason, this generated the following in the pdf file from pdflatex.

----. "Title" ().
    This is a test

I can't find any difference between this and the article driver in the same file, but it doesn't seem to be able to find the author in the bib file. Any idea what's going on?

EDIT: This is using biblatex v0.8. I want the "author" field to appear, but it's being replaced by a dashed line.

2 Answers 2


I did a test run using biblatex-mla, which resulted in error messages. The latest changes in the version of biblatex-mla available on CTAN stem from February 7th, 2010 and therefore predate biblatex v0.9, which made some backward-incompatible changes. Could it be that you're still using biblatex v0.8?

That said, I'll hazard a guess: Is the bibliography entry in question the second one with the author "Jonathan Sternberg"? If so, biblatex (EDIT: or at least its built-in styles) will automatically replace the author's name with a dash. Since v0.9, this behaviour can be turned off using the package option dashed=false. With some hacking, it might be possible to replicate this feature for v0.8 - but I'd rather ask the author of biblatex-mla to upgrade his style to biblatex v0.9.

  • The version in the Ubuntu repository for the computer I'm on is biblatex v0.8. Why is it automatically replacing the author's name with a dash? I want it to insert the author's name.
    – jsternberg
    Nov 9, 2010 at 0:38
  • I had a second entry with the exact same author (I was using it for testing purposes) and I didn't realize it would replace the second author with a dash. Didn't hit me until now that that's what you meant.
    – jsternberg
    Nov 9, 2010 at 4:00
  • As for why, it's not uncommon that repeated authors get replaced with dashes in bibliographies — for aesthetic reasons. Having this be the only behaviour is a bit silly, but it may be that the MLA guidelines that biblatex-mla is implementing specify this behaviour. Nov 9, 2010 at 4:25
  • 1
    Page 22 of the documentation of biblatex-mla refers to multiple works by one author and states: "The list of works cited correctly prints a dash instead of a repeated author’s name".
    – lockstep
    Nov 9, 2010 at 17:58

I'm just finding these questions, so I do apologize for not responding to them earlier!

Lockstep and Mikael are correct: the dashed names are part of the MLA style and are not a mistake. Still, I'll add the package option (dashed=false) to the next version of biblatex-mla, as it ought to be a trivial addition.

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