I am using the natbib package and chicago style to create my reference list. Some of the references in the bib file contain a field called "note" which is printed if I use the following:





The bib references look like this:

    title = {The Influence of Top Management Team Heterogeneity on Firms' Competitive Moves},
    volume = {41},
    copyright = {Copyright © 1996 Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University},
    issn = {0001-8392},
    url = {http://www.jstor.org/stable/2393871},
    doi = {10.2307/2393871},
    number = {4},
    journal = {Administrative Science Quarterly},
    author = {Hambrick, Donald C. and Cho, Theresa Seung and Chen, {Ming-Jer}},
    month = dec,
    year = {1996},
    note = {{ArticleType:} research-article / Full publication date: Dec., 1996 / Copyright © 1996 Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University},
    pages = {659--684}

How do I suppress this "note" field? Another follow-up question: is there a way to suppress the "month" field in the printed reference?


  • You should be using the annote field, not the note field. Also, if you will be a regular user of the Chicago style, you should consider switching from natbib to biblatex (and the new engine biber) to get a full and up to date implementation of the rather complicated Chicago specification.
    – jon
    Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 14:18
  • @jon - Why should a user name the field annote rather than note -- other than for the simple expedient of making BibTeX not process a field whose name it's not programmed to recognize?
    – Mico
    Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 14:26
  • @Mico -- I though note was meant to be printed in the output, while annote will simply be ignored. And the information in the example looks like stuff of interest to the database maintainer, but it certainly has no place in Chicago-style output.
    – jon
    Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 14:31
  • Thanks for the suggestion jon. So there is no way in which I can included a command in the preamble that supresses the note field? I will be using Chicago style a lot, but I haven't quite figure out how biblatex works. I tried to get this (tex.stackexchange.com/questions/35233/…) running but got the following warning messages: empty bibliography on input line 33. Any suggestions on good biblatex tutorials? Thanks.
    – MdV
    Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 14:44
  • @MdV -- Your error message is cryptic without an example to look at. You can of course modify the existing .bst style (as shown in the answer below), but, aside from the fact that the style implements a very outdated version of the Chicago specification (i.e., one that no journal/publisher will accept today), since it is based on the rigid bibtex format, the note field might well be expected to do some real work in the bibliography output. The recommended thing to do is to 'invent' a field (e.g., annote): the .bst/bibtex will ignore all fields it does not recognize.
    – jon
    Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 14:59

1 Answer 1


The bibliography style file chicago.bst is quite ancient; according to the header information given in the file, it was last updated in 1992 [!]. If you're stuck with chicago.bst, though, you may want to do the following:

  • Find the file chicago.bst in your file system (likely under ../bibtex/bst/chicago, where .. is the root of the TeX distribution), make a copy and call the new file, say, mychicago.bst.

  • Open mychicago.bst in your favorite text editor

  • Search for the function FUNCTION {output.year.check} (it starts on line 266 in my copy of this file). In this function, replace the line

    { ", " * month * ")" * }


    { ")" * }

    (I.e., make BibTeX do the same thing whether or not a month field is present in a given entry.)

  • Regarding how (not) to process the contents of a note field (assuming one is present): For this case, I recommend that you go through each of the 12 instances of so of the following two lines

    note output

    and choose which instances you want to comment out (using %, as usual) and which ones you want to keep. I could imagine you'd want to comment out these instructions for entries of type @article and @book, whereas you may well want to keep them for entries of type @misc and @unpublished.

  • Save the file and update the TeX filename database if necessary. E.g., if you use TeXLive or MacTeX, you could type texhash at a command prompt.

  • Use the bibliography style mychicago from now on.

  • @MdV - glad it worked well! Please don't be shy about upvoting and/or accepting my answer. :-)
    – Mico
    Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 15:43

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