What to do when Endnote adds initials to citations


The name is 5995, Cow 5995, by Wesley de Ridder, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

When you are citing literature in Endnote using an author-date system, you will sometimes find that Endnote adds author initials to your citations. So instead of
      (Smith and Weston, 2004),
it says
      (R. A. Smith and Weston, 2004).
This is so annoying! But its really easy to fix once you realise why Endnote has done it.

Endnote does this when you have two authors with the same surname, so that readers can tell which Smith you re talking about. For example, if somewhere else in your document you have cited L. L. Smith and Jones, 1999, then adding the initials to both is necessary. Unfortunately in those cases you just have to live with it.

But what about when its the same Smith, but Endnote still adds the initials?  You will often find you are citing more than one of the same author’s papers so it can be a common problem. The issue is that Endnote doesn’t know its the same Smith, because you have slightly different entries for the author’s names.

So, for example, if one reference is listed as authored by
       Ronald A. Smith
and another is listed as authored by
 –      R. A. Smith
then Endnote thinks these are different people.

To fix this what you need to do is look at your references in Endnote and make the authors all the same. (Well only if they really are the same people!) And I mean exactly the same. Full stops make a difference to Endnote. I also found that spaces do to and these can be tricky if there is a space at the end of the name as you can’t see it.

I usually don’t worry if names are slightly different as I enter them in Endnote. I wait until I see a problem in the document I am writing, because I have far more references in Endnote than I would ever use in one document.


3 thoughts on “What to do when Endnote adds initials to citations

  1. Anne

    Or use a different reference/bibliography program.
    I like Mendeley, it has never eaten all my references, insisted on adding an extra comma after the final author’s name or done this initial-adding thing. Which I have seen Endnote do (so thanks for this how-to-deal-with guide).
    Others speak well of Zotero, Qiqqa, JabRef or colwiz.


    1. Liz Norman Post author

      Thanks for telling us about Mendeley and the other software tools Anne. I have heard a lot of people find them easy to use. However, in regards to the problem of added author initials, Mendeley has exactly the same problem as Endnote and the fix is also the same. It makes sense really if you think about why it happens that all software would have this problem.

      see here for details http://support.mendeley.com/customer/en/portal/articles/169933-author-initials-are-added-to-my-citations-in-word


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