# Natbib - Custom-bib - Merlin.mbs - Unwanted thin space between volume and num in reference list

I have a problem with the .bst file, I created with the help of custom-bib (make-bst). I needed to create an individual .bst file since the Journal (Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing) is using a little mixture of styles (some Harvard, some APA, some individual). So far so good, I had no problem with custom-bib or the dbj files and creating/adapting the .bst file.

BUT: I have a problem with the formatting of the Reference list - The problem is the thin-space between the volume and the number: "46 (32)" Even if I use the default option for

"JOURNAL VOL AND NUMBER:"
\beginoptiongroup{JOURNAL VOL AND NUMBER:}{}
\optdef{*}{}{Journal vol(num)}{as 34(2)}

the result stays the same. I figured out that this is due to the different handling of textit, it, em, see examples in the "min example". This behaviour is also nicely described in Extra space between volume and number using Biblatex and APA but unfortunately this solution only works for biblatex...

With the help of the merlin.pdf documentation I also found out that there are already options for this:

\optdef{i}{em-it}{Use true italics}{ie, \string\it, absolute italics
\optdef{t}{plntx}{Use only Plain TeX}{commands for fonts and testing}

But still the same effect. Does anyone of you has a solution for this?

Yours sincerely, David

MWE:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[]{natbib}

\begin{document}
\bibliography{sample.bib}
\setcitestyle{aysep={ }}

See example:

\begin{itemize}
\item with-space:{17} (18)
\item textit:~\textit{17}(18)
\item it:~~~~~\it{17}(18)
\item em:~~~~~\em{17}(18)
\item rm:~~~~~\rm{17}(18)
\end{itemize}
\end{document}


Content of sample.bib:

@article{Ahmad2013,
author = {Ahmad, Iftikhar and Kano, Manabu},
journal = {IFAC Proceedings Volumes},
number = {32},
pages = {744--749},
publisher = {IFAC},
title = {{Some interesting paper}},
volume = {46},
year = {2013}
}


adapted_style.dbj (creates "adapted_style.bst" with latex adapted_style.dbj" see in pastebin

I really don't like to answer my own question...BUT in case it is helpful for someone else, I post the solution for my own problem...

Found out that this was not a problem at all, since the behaviour when using vol-it and "" is working as intentioned, it is even mentioned in the ACTUAL documentation of merlin.mbs:

\optdef{i}{vol-it}{Volume italic}{as {\string\em\space vol}(num)} so the original function for emphasizing stuff as it results by running the dbj file in order to create the .bst file looks like that:

FUNCTION {emphasize}
{ duplicate$empty$
{ pop$"" } { "{\it " swap$ * "\/}" * }
if$}  the "thin space" is added on purpose, and by deleting it, it is also gone in the reference list: FUNCTION {emphasize} { duplicate$ empty${ pop$ "" }
{ "{\it " swap$* "}" * } if$
}


Yours sincerely, David

• The \/ isn't technically a normal thin space, it's the so-called italic correction that stops an italicised letter to bump into the following non-italic letter (tex.stackexchange.com/q/93961/35864). This is often desirable, but not always. Note that \it has been deprecated for more than 25 years now, so if you are already changing the definition of that function, you might as well replace \it with \itshape, see for example texfaq.org/FAQ-2letterfontcmd. Jan 29 at 8:05
• Thank you for your explanation, I will adapt it :-) Jan 29 at 8:43