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I'm using Biber/bibLaTeX with the following options:

\usepackage[natbib=true,style=apa,backend=biber]{biblatex}

In references of the type inproceedings I don't get the series. Here is an example:

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As you see, having just “Vol. 7816” without mentioning the series Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science of which it is a volume, makes no sense, and this information is crucial.

Here is the BIB code of the reference:

@inproceedings{yh13cicling2,
   Author = {Haralambous, Yannis},
   Booktitle = {{CICLing 2013: 14th International Conference on Intelligent Text Processing and Computational Linguistics, Samos}},
   Pages = {201--217},
   Series = {Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science},
   Title = {New Perspectives in Sinographic Language Processing Through the Use of Character Structure},
   Volume = {7816},
   Year = {2013}}

How can I make the series appear?

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    I don't think that there is code. You could add an issue at github.com/plk/biblatex-apa/issues, a related discussion seems to be github.com/plk/biblatex-apa/issues/15. Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 12:29
  • I'll say what I always want to say when there is a question about APA, but don't always do: If the behaviour biblatex-apa exhibits does not conform to APA style as outlined in the APA manual, please report this at github.com/plk/biblatex-apa/issues (ideally with a reference to the relevant APA rules). If this is just an extension of APA that might come in handy for your non-APA purposes, I recommend not using biblatex-apa, but rather building a style upon one of the standard styles (style=authoryear for example) instead. ...
    – moewe
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 21:05
  • ... biblatex-apa has to jump through a lot of hoops and has to do quite some tricks to implement APA style and that means that it can be quite a bit less customisable in some areas than the standard styles. In any case biblatex-apa wasn't written specifically with the intention of being easily customisable, whereas the standard styles can be seen as a basis to start from if you need a different style.
    – moewe
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 21:06
  • Thanks but, what I'm asking is not “customization,” I just want to avoid information disappearing, and the series of a book is crucial information, in particular if you have the volume number…
    – yannis
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 22:38
  • The question is whether or not the APA manual says the information should be appearing. As I said biblatex-apa's only aim is to provide a style that implements APA guidelines by the book. If APA guidelines usually drop the series info, then this is the expected outcome.
    – moewe
    Commented Nov 5, 2019 at 5:27

1 Answer 1

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There are two issues at play with the .bib entry shown in the question and the style you use (apa).

Use series+number

The first issue is that for biblatex the correct input for a series is slightly different from the usual input for most BibTeX styles. Where BibTeX uses the two fields series+volume biblatex has two possible combinations

  • series+number for loose series (usually consisting of many publications published by a variety of different authors over a long period of time) and
  • maintitle+volume for a tighter multi-volume publication (usually such a work involves fewer publications and the same or at least a more homogeneous set of authors over a shorter period of time).

With biblatex it is generally not a good idea to mix the two approaches.

The biblatex documentation explains the difference in 2.3.7 Publication and Journal Series, p. 37 as follows

The series field is used by traditional BibTeX styles both for the main title of a multi-volume work and for a publication series, i.e., a loosely related sequence of books by the same publisher which deal with the same general topic or belong to the same field of research. This may be ambiguous. This package introduces a maintitle field for multi-volume works and employs series for publication series only. The volume or number of a book in the series goes in the number field in this case.

This is also discussed in more detail in Omit Vol and Issue/No?, examples can be found at Biblatex: Local change in sorting order in references, BibLaTeX: how to reverse order of volume and series?, biblatex-dw bibliography formatting @incollection volume number after series name.

In your case then, the .bib file for biblatex should probably look like

@inproceedings{yh13cicling2,
   author    = {Haralambous, Yannis},
   title     = {New Perspectives in Sinographic Language Processing
                Through the Use of Character Structure},
   booktitle = {{CICLing} 2013: 14th International Conference on
                Intelligent Text Processing and Computational Linguistics, {Samos}},
   year      = {2013},
   pages     = {201--217},
   series    = {Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science},
   number    = {7816},
}

But APA style doesn't show series+number!

In your setup with biblatex-apa there is a second issue: biblatex-apa does not print the combination series+number at all in the bibliography. I don't have the APA manual at hand, but from reading https://github.com/plk/biblatex-apa/issues/15 and previous research it is my understanding that the APA guidelines (6th ed.) don't treat publication series extensively and only mention them once in a fairly ambiguous way (in the one example that involves a "series" in the APA manual we could also be talking about maintitle+volume; the output in the example certainly looks more like it).

If you have evidence that the APA guidelines require that series+number be shown in a different way, then you can – and should! – take this to the biblatex-apa bug tracker (cf. https://github.com/plk/biblatex-apa/issues/80). At the moment it is my understanding that you are not dead-set on following APA guidelines, but that you rather use biblatex-apa as a base style because you like it or it comes closest to what you expect and you want to display series+number regardless of what the APA says. In that case I should mention that I generally recommend using biblatex-apa only if you want to follow APA guidelines, if you are just looking for a nice author-year citation/bibliography style that can be customised to your needs, you are usually better off with one of the standard styles. biblatex-apa needs to do some heavy lifting to implement the APA guidelines as closely as possible and can not always – an is not intended to – be as easily customised as the standard styles.

You can find an attempt at hacking biblatex-apa to display series+number at Change 'Series' + 'Number' entries in bibliography with biblatex, but as I said before and also said over there, I don't recommend changing biblatex-apa that drastically. It is a better idea to go with a standard style instead.

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  • Thank you for your elaborate answer. What would you suggest as a standard style that comes close to APA? I mean a natbib style where author names are included in citations (at full the first time and with et al. afterwards).
    – yannis
    Commented Nov 9, 2019 at 16:41
  • @yannis Pick one from the authoryear family (style=authoryear, style=authoryear-ibid, style=authoryear-comp, style=authoryear-icomp). Of course this will not look exactly like APA and will not behave exactly like it, but for most people who are looking for author-year citations it is good enough (after a few modifications). By default biblatex does not print the full author lists for first citations and a shortened list afterwards, but that can be implemented, see for example tex.stackexchange.com/q/48846/35864
    – moewe
    Commented Nov 9, 2019 at 17:31
  • Thanks for the advice, I took authoryear-ibid and it looks fine. In the references, multiple entries with the same authors have an em-dash instead of the authors' names, how can I replace this by something longer (e.g., a \rule[.5ex]{15mm}{.4pt}) ?
    – yannis
    Commented Nov 9, 2019 at 19:15
  • OK, I found it: to change the dash you just redefine \bibnamedash like this: \def\bibnamedash{\rule[.5ex]{15mm}{0.4pt} }.
    – yannis
    Commented Nov 9, 2019 at 22:19
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    @yannis To mirror the definition in biblatex.def I would probably say \renewcommand\bibnamedash{\mbox{\rule[.5ex]{15mm}{0.4pt}\space}}, but the difference hardly matters. (Though I do strongly prefer \renewcommand over \def here.)
    – moewe
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 2:44

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