Dear LaTeX/BibTeX gurus,

I have one final hurdle to overcome to satisfy my university's thesis editors: proper bibliography formatting. Throughout the entire process I simply declared \bibliographystyle{ama} and of course included the most updated ama.bst file I can find (http://www.tex.ac.uk/tex-archive/biblio/bibtex/contrib/misc/ama.bst) in the working directory. I hadn't really scrutinized the bibliography, but the thesis editor pointed out that author names are not being abbreviated and article titles are not using proper capitalization (i.e., capitalizing only the first letter of the title, in general). Instructions at the top of the ama.bst file provide an example that suggests the file should handle those requirements, but there is also a note that the present version does not work in BibTeX 0.98i. My current version is 0.99d, so I assume ama.bst "simply" needs updated. :)

Has anyone else come across an updated ama.bst file or know how to fix it?

Thanks for your help!

1 Answer 1


Make a copy of the file ama.bst and call it, say, myama.bst. To force BibTeX to abbreviate all first (and middle) names, perform the following edit in the new file: You need to find and replace the two instances of {ff } with {f. }; these should be located on lines 241 and 533 if you use the version for which

Second, to use "sentence style" capitalization (instead of "book title style capitalization) of titles, locate the function format.title (on l. 278, most likely) and replace the line

{ title " " *}


{ title "t" change.case$ add.period$}

There's a second, similar-named function, format.title.p, a few lines further down in the .bst file. You may have to change the line { title " " *} in that function to { title "t" change.case$ add.period$} as well.

Save the file and start using it with the directive \bibliographystyle{myama}.

  • Awesome, thanks! I also found from another .bst that if I use {f{}} then it will not use periods in author initials, as is required by ama. So do you have any idea why nobody has ever corrected these issues since '02? More importantly, is there somewhere I can submit these updates? May 9, 2012 at 13:42
  • Sorry, one more question: I noticed the article title doesn't have a period at the end. Do you know how to correct that? May 9, 2012 at 14:00
  • @zugzug: Regarding your first comment -- I have no idea why the ama.bst style file has apparently been languishing without further updates for ten years. The header information states that it was last changed by Eric Kort, email eric.kort@vai.org. You could try emailing him and see if he either still maintains the file or knows somebody who does.
    – Mico
    May 9, 2012 at 14:06
  • @zugzug: On your second comment -- I've augmented the instructions to add the string add.period$. Hope you're in business now.
    – Mico
    May 9, 2012 at 14:24
  • I just tried emailing Eric but it was returned as undeliverable. Thanks again for your help! May 9, 2012 at 20:34

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