Multi-letter initials in BibTeX

If your bibliographic style uses initials + surname, you may encounter a problem with some transcribed names (for example, Russian ones). Consider the following example from the real world: </code>bibtex @article{epifanov1997,

author = {Epifanov, S. Yu. and Vigasin, A. A.},
title  = ...

} </code> Note that the « Yu » is the initial, not a complete name. However, BibTeX’s algorithms will leave you with a citation — slightly depending on the bibliographic style — that reads: « S. Y. Epifanov and A. A. Vigasin, … ». instead of the intended « S. Yu. Epifanov and A. A. Vigasin, … ».

One solution is to replace each affected initial by a command that prints the correct combination. To keep your bibliography portable, you need to add that command to your bibliography with the @preamble directive: </code>bibtex @preamble{ {providecommand{BIBYu}{Yu} } }


author   = {Epifanov, S. {\BIBYu}. and Vigasin, A. A.},
title    = ...

} </code> If you have many such commands, you may want to put them in a separate file and \input that LaTeX file in a @preamble directive.

An alternative is to make the transcription look like an accent, from BibTeX’s point of view. For this we need a control sequence that does nothing: </code>bibtex @article{epifanov1997,

author   = {Epifanov, S. {\relax Yu}. and Vigasin, A. A.},
title    = ...

} </code> Like the solution by generating extra commands, this involves tedious extra typing; which of the two techniques is preferable for a given bibliography will be determined by the names in it. It should be noted that a preamble that introduces lots of odd commands is usually undesirable if the bibliography is a shared one.

« Compound » initials (for single names made up of two or more words) may be treated in the same way, so one can enter Forster’s rather complicated name as: </code>bibtex @article{forster2006,

author   = {Forster, P.M. {\relax de F.} and Collins, M.},
title    = ...

</code> The same trick can be played if you’re entering whole names:

  author   = {Epifanov, Sasha {\relax Yu}ri and

(though no guarantee, that either of those names is right, is offered!) However, if you’re typing the names in the « natural » (Western) way, with given names first, the trick: </code>bibtex …

author   = {P.M. {\relax de F.} Forster and

… </code> doesn’t work — « de F. Forster » is treated as a compound family names.

Source: Multi-letter initials in BibTeX