Endnote NOT inserting comma between Author and Short Title in disambigated in-text citation in MLA

The default style for in-text citation in MLA is this: (Woolf 23), where “Woolf” is the Author and “23” is the Cite Page.added via Edit Citation function. No Year is required in MLA.

However, if I cite more than one publication for an author, MLA requires disambiguation by inserting a comma and then the Short Title between Author and Cited Page numbers.

This is how it should look:

(Woolf, Orlando 23)
(Woolf, “The Mark on the Wall” 14)

This is how Endnote does it (Wrong!):
 (Woolf Orlando 23)
(Woolf “The Mark on the Wall” 14)

Endnote inserts the Short Title automatically but not the comma (and space) between Author and Short Title.

As the comma is only inserted when the Short Title is used for disambiguation, to add the comma permanently to the default in-text citation template would incorrently place a comma between Author and Cited Pages which is wrong.

Any ideas would be appreciated.

I’m running Endnot X.0.2 with XP and Word 2003. 

I don’t know the answer.  The formatting is supposed to be picked up from the Bibliography, and there aren’t any commas before the “title” field there.  The help files actually use MLA as an example for the use of the Short Title in the situation you are encountering, and show it working, but in my quick tests, I couldn’t get it to work either.  - I think this is a bug, unless there is some judicious use of link and separate characters which I couldn’t identify.  I think you should ask tech support.  (My testing was done with EndnoteX2). 

You could try this workaround…

When you have these ambiguous citations, use the Edit Citation function and check the Exclude Author box. Then go to the Prefix box, and type the author’s surname, followed by a comma and a space, e.g. Woolf,

It’s a bit tedious, but it seems to produce the correct output.

Hi Leanne,

At least I feel validated somehow that it’s not just me! Will approach Tech Support as you suggest. The last time I used EndNote was a number of years ago (obviously a much earlier version), and I can’t quite ditch the feeling that it used to work correctly back then. I even tried installing an earlier version (v.8, I think) but that didn’t correct the problem.



Hi John,

That’s a good tip, actually, thanks. Where possible I’ve reworded my writing to include the author in the body of the sentence, enabling me to exclude the author in the citation altogether, which means it is formatted correctly since no comma is required. Of course, it is not always desirable to do this.

I’m worried about one thing with your workaround. I’m still editing my document - it’s my PhD thesis in draft. Say, I have only two of Woolf’s texts referenced and then, through the editing stage, I delete one of them. Suddenly EndNote no longer disambiguates the references to Woolf by adding the Short Title. However, if I had already hard-coded the author name+comma+space in the prefix of those citations as you suggest, I end up with: (Woolf, 23), ie an erroneous comma.

Unless EndNote comes up with an automatic disambiguation that is correct, I fear I’m going to just have to be inserting the odd comma in the final version once field codes have been removed. Could be worse I suppose.

Thanks for your suggestion.