How do I index an author who published articles with and without middle initial? For example, I cite an author who published as

J. Bloggs, An important paper, Some Journal, 1993


J. Z. Bloggs, Another important paper, Some Journal, 1995.

When I create the corresponding entries in the author index, should I refer from one to the other [e.g., Bloggs, J. (see also Bloggs, J. Z.)] or do I create both entries with the middle initial? Are there official rules for this situation? (Yes, I am sure that they are the same person.)

  • What does it say at the beginning of the article? If a middle name is given, I would use the initial. If it isn't, I wouldn't. Dec 29 '15 at 11:08
  • I don't understand your question. In my examples, I give the names under which the articles were published. In one case with a middle initial, in other other case without one. Dec 29 '15 at 15:44
  • Sorry. I misunderstood. I haven't ever seen an academic use what is effectively two different names. Dec 29 '15 at 16:52

If an established rule isn't available, one can solve this question using reason.

Including names in citations helps readers and future researchers accomplish three important goals:

  • Uniquely identify the author of a work. (Distinguish the author from other authors with similar names.)
  • Identify multiple works by that author.
  • Distinguish between works with similar titles but different authors.

Including the author's middle initial in each citation does the best job of meeting all three goals.

Omitting the author's middle initial in at least one of the citations does a poorer job of satisfying all three goals.

If you are certain of the author's identity, adding their middle initial to a citation does no harm. If you are uncertain, doing so risks creating confusion for future researchers.

Therefore, provided you are certain of the author's identity, add the middle initial to all citations of that author's works.

  • I agree. If it doesn't conflict too much with existing punctuation in citations, you might even consider parenthesising the optional initial. As an extension of this, if an author sometimes publishes under an abbreviated form of their name or a nickname, you can use a format like Edward "Ted" Smith. But there will still be cases where an author has two distinctly different names, such as where they have changed their name (perhaps by result of marriage) or they sometimes use a pen name, where cross-referencing would be the best way to deal with it. Aug 10 '17 at 21:51

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