Multiple authors/Same year : A bug ?


I am trying to insert multiple same-year works by one same author in a citation. The output I would like to have is something like this :

Bla bla bla (Nick 1983a, 1983b) bla bla bla.

Instead, I get this :

Bla bla bla (Nick 1983b, 1983a) bla bla bla.

In other words, I always get the “b” before the “a”. I edited the citation style so that in-line citations are not sorted, and it is the first time that these two works are cited in the text. When I edit the citation to change the order of the two works, what seems to happen is that the order of “b” and “a” does not change, but rather the works they point to changes. (And in the bibliography, the two articles switch place.)

This happens even if I change the order in which I insert the works (i.e. inserting the second article before the first one), and even when I insert the two works in different citations (i.e. “(Nick 1983b) (Nick 1983a)”). I really do not care about their order, all I want is that letter “a” appears before letter “b”.

Thanks for your help.


Can you tell us what style you are using?

Some styles put the a, b, etc in the order of the reference list, and if the reference list is sorted by author then title it is quite possible to have “b” come before “a” in the in-text citations legitimately.



Message Edited by John-Arnold on 07-03-2009 10:26 AM

I am using a slightly modified version of “Oxford-Author Date”.

However, this does not seem to be the problem, because no matter which article I cite first, it gets letter “b” (and the bibliography seems to be adjusted accordingly by switching the articles). 

Maybe I should modify the style to change the sorting order of the bibliography, but then I do not want this to affect all the other citations. Here are the two culprits :

Cheney, G. (1983), ‘The Rhetoric of Identification and the Study of Organizational Communication’, Quarterly Journal of Speech, 69, 143-158.

Cheney, G. (1983), ‘On the Various and Changing Meanings of Organizational Membership: A Field Study of Organizational Identification’, Communication Monographs, 50, 324-362. 


The sort order in the Oxford-Author Date output style for in-text citations and bibliography are different, and I think this is what is causing the peculiar order of citations, particularly when there are different citations with the same single author published in the same year.

Citation sort order= First author by Year by Title

Bibliography sort order= First author by Number of authors by Year

I would probably change Citations > Sort Order in the output style - exactly what to depends on what the Oxford-Author Date requires/you are trying to achieve; perhaps to “Same as bibliography”?



If your references are really what you typed, then there are a different number of spaces in the names, which could cause an unexpected sorting order. Check that the author for both references is exactly the same.