APA 5th ed - initials in first author's name in in-text citation

I am having difficulty with endnote inserting initials for the first author of in-text citations in APA 5th ed. I have seen the two previous threads on this issue and understand that when there are multiple authors with the same last name, the initials are inserted for clarification. I also understand that the authors have to be entered EXACTLY the same for every citation in the endnote database. I have two problems:

  1. Endnote seems to be inserting the initials in the in-text citation when there are multiple authors with the same last name in my library, even when only one of these authors is cited in the actual text. For instance, initials get inserted when the library has Smith, T and Smith, R but the paper only cites Smith T. Short of removing the fields and manually fixing, I’m not sure how to remove the unwanted initials. (I’d rather not remove the fields just yet)

  2. Is there a work-around for the situation where there is only one author but different databases or journals list the name slightly differently. For instance, some databases list them as Smith, TR and some as Smith, T.R. and some as Smith, T. etc. If you have a well published author you have to go in and manually replace this author’s name many times so that it is consistent across all entries. This is incredibly inconvenient and a big waste of time.


Message Edited by tresaroe on 02-19-2009 03:52 PM

Smith, TR wouldn’t work in Endnote, as it would probably treat it as a first name abbreviation it to T, so it needs the space to be handled correctly.   Smith T R and Smith T. R. are recognized as the same. 

Journals often require variants to be handled in this way, and Endnote is not clarvoiyant about when they are the same or when they are not.  Smith T and Smith T. R. could be different and if they are not, then how is Endnote supposed to know that?   

I cannot replicate the last problem, with the initials being included even if you have only one quoted.  I am not certain, but I have never had the fact that the library contains another author with the same surname affecting how it is inserted in a  manuscript.  Only if both are first (or second of two) authors are used in the manuscript. Are you sure you didn’t fix something in a reference, but that the manuscript is still pulling information from the travelling library copy?  Try unformating all the references and reformating them, which should look only in the library.   

Hello Leanne!  I had the exact same thing happen. For instance, I downloaded from Proquest and Ebsco, and some came in as “Jane Jones,” “Jones, Jane A.,” “Jones, J.” etc.  Even if the author was the only one by that name (no Fred Jones in the author list, for instance) it would still show up sometimes as "J. Jones"or “J. A. Jones” but sometimes it was correct.  It did not appear to matter if the author was solo or part of a list in the in-text citation.

Once I changed them all to “Jones, Jane” it worked just fine.  

I was helping someone with the author initials problem you describe today. I think we found a solution.

Edit the output style, and under Citations -> Author Name, uncheck the box for “Use initials only for primary authors with the same name”

I am now having a similar problem with APA 6th edition. Even when I untick the initials box. I have searched the APA 6th edition manual and can not find anything about authors who do use different names. Your assistance greatly appreciated.


There is absolutely no way that Endnote can distinguish between two records that have the same author with two different ways of entering their name - or if the same author published with or without their middle name in two different publications.  Endnote then assumes they are different.  J. Smith could be Jane Smith or it could be James Smith and J. A. Smith and Jane Smith could the same or different person.  Hence I just make the adjustment in the record, if I know they are the same person.  OR - I leave those biggies up to the publisher and get on with my writing, which is the important part anyway. 

Thank you for this tip. It was very helpful.