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A colleague is assembling a book for publication, and the publisher instructions state that the book should use short form end-notes, and a full bibliography for each chapter. The book concerns China, so many of the sources have authors who are surnamed "Li" and "Wang" and "Liu" etc. because these are very common surnames in China. For example, about 10% of China has a surname Wang.

For all repeated surnames, should short form end notes include full names? Or are just surnames enough?

For examples,

Endnote option 1
1 Li, Short Title ABC, 12-15.
2 Li, Quick Title DEC, 111-132.

Endnote option 2
1 Li Han, Short Title ABC, 12-15.
2 Li Ma, Quick Title DEC, 111-132.

Bib
Li, Han. Short Title ABC: An introduction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
Li, Ma. Quick Title DEC: For Experts. New York: University of New York Press, 1987.

In my opinion, the Chicago Manual of Style is ambiguous. It says in 14.27 Short Form For Authors's Names says the following:

Only the last name of the author, or of the editor or translator if given first in the full reference, is needed in the short form. Full names or initials are included only when authors with the same last name must be distinguished from one another. Such abbreviations as ed. or trans. following a name in the full reference are omitted in subsequent references. If a work has two or three authors, give the last name of each; for more than three, the last name of the first author followed by et al.

Focusing in the statement "Full names or initials are included only when authors with the same last name must be distinguished from one another. "

Does this only refer to when there are two authors of the same book who have the same name, or any author whose name is reapeated?

  • 2
    Well, it just says "authors" with the same last name. And Li and Li are two authors...with the same last name...that must be distinguished. I would think it applies here. – K. Bailey Apr 24 '17 at 12:32
  • 1
    @K.Bailey I think so too, but what is the right thing to do? – axsvl77 Apr 24 '17 at 13:12
  • Endnote always automatically sorts these issues for me, is that not the case? – DPT Jan 5 '18 at 23:18
  • @DPT I'm not asking about a software named Endnote, I'm asking about an actual endnote. – axsvl77 Jan 6 '18 at 1:51
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I always saw this interpreted in graduate school as being listed as:

Li, H. Short Title ABC: An introduction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
Li, M. Quick Title DEC: For Experts. New York: University of New York Press, 1987.

(bolding for effect)

This makes it clear they're two different people. Now, as you mentioned, the last names are common, so if you have two M. Lis, you'd want to put the full first names.

  • Is this purely based on your interpretation, or is there any source backing it up? – FFN Jan 31 '18 at 11:20
  • Not just my interpretation, but the common usage I saw in graduate school. That's why I said "saw this", not "I think" ;) I suppose my source would be to cite the bibliographies of all the papers I read in grad school that used this notation, but that would take quite a long time! – Morgan Meredith Jan 31 '18 at 11:39
  • 1
    @MorganMeredith For short-form endnotes, you wouldn't put the full title. – axsvl77 Jan 31 '18 at 17:36
  • A tip about markdown: you need two spaces before hitting Enter to get a soft linebreak and you need to hit Enter two times to get a paragraph. A single Enter without any spaces will be ignored in most cases. – Sec SE - clear Monica's name Feb 1 '18 at 21:40

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