Multiple citations from an author in one year

Hi, what do we do if we have multiple citations referring to the same author in the same year e.g… (Moser 2000a)  … (Moser 2000b) …(Moser 2000c) etc.  in order to ensure that 2000a appears first in the text.  I have a case where (2000b) appears in the chapter before (2000a).  I have combed the help menu, but have not found the solution, which must be easy!! Are you able to help?

Many thanks, Megan


The letter assignment is done based on the sort order of your bibliography.  Your references in the bibliography will be sorted, typically alphabetically then by year and by the title.  If you have ambiguous citations the ‘a’ will be applied to the reference that comes first in the bibliography, this will make sure that your bibliography remains in order.  Otherwise your bibliography would appear out of order.

Message Edited by PTravis on 06-03-2008 11:40 AM


I have the same problem. I would like to have my bibliography sort in ‘Author’-alphabetically, ‘Year’, and then in ‘Order of appearance’. However, in the style editing option: ‘Order of appearance’ is only selectable alone…

Can anybody help!

Thanks a lot,


? How can a bibliography list make sense if you sort alpha, year and then by appearance??? What references would be left? 

Hm, thanks for the answer. But I don’t think this is the point. There are several journals which ask for this kind of format and I reckon that’s enough reason for program desingers to implement this option.

And I hope after appying this format there would be no references left, is this not the purpose of a bibliography-program? Sorry, I might have not understood your question.

I agree that this might look inconsistent for the inner logic of the bibliography, but if you read an article as an editior this makes perfectly sense. If you read the text and Smith 2000b comes before Smith 2000a then the chronology appears to be wrong, this is obviously enough reason for some editors to ask for this kind of format.



Hi Christian,

If you have a link to author guidelines that explicitly state that this is a requirement, please do share.  I’ve seen this request from users in the past, but have yet to actually see any publisher requirements that state the same.  I’ve been unable to find them myself, and without that sort of ‘hard evidence’ we don’t have enough to to go on in order to legitimize a product enhancement.  Thanks!

Hi Rick,

Thanks a lot for your reply, I assume that means that this option is not implemented in the program and I’m not too stupid to find it :smiley:. I can do it manually after I have deformatted the text, but I would appreciate it if this option would be implemented in future.

I can’t give you the detailed descriptions on the journal websites, as they are normally pretty vague. But I have encountered this problem twice now with referees from the Journal of Archaeological Science (JAS) and once with Archaeology in Oceania, as well as with reviewers for PhDs in Humanities at the Australian National University.

Thanks a lot!


I sometimes get the same query from EndNote users, who are dismayed when they find that (Jones 2000b) occurs in the text before (Jones 2000a).

I explain to them that, in author-date referencing systems, the citation in the text is simply a way of locating an item in the reference list. The reference list is the hub of the referencing system, and the in-text citations correspond to the logical order of the entries in the reference list, which is arranged first by author, then by year, and finally by title.

All the standard referencing manuals follow this policy, including Chicago, APA and the (Australian) Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers (the “Snooks” manual).

Unfortunately there are quite a few dissertation supervisors and journal editors who are vague about referencing conventions! It takes some courage to tell them so…

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I am picking up this thread again after a while as I am now encountering the problem. 

I have cited the second reference first and the first second and therefore have b before a. As everything else is exactly the same up until we arrive at the title I take it then that endnote works based on the title and short of changing the title on the citation I have no option but to have 2007b before 2007a?

Day, G, Minichiello, V & Madison, J 2007a, ‘Nursing morale: predictive variables among a sample of Registered Nurses in Australia’, Journal of Nursing Management, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 274-284.


Day, G, Minichiello, V & Madison, J 2007b, ‘Self-reported perceptions of Registered Nurses working in Australian hospitals’, Journal of Nursing Management vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 403-413.


So from the point of view of John East from UQ I should be ok with the 2007b coming in before the 2007a. As John has suggested, I know my supervisor is going to pick up on this so I need ammunition to explain to him what’s happening here. Any help will be appreciated.



If you absolutely want the reference to be sorted in order of appearance despite any journal’s requirements, then edit your style’s bibliography sort order removing the title as part of the criteria.  Just leave it as author, year and then it will use order of appearance as the next criterion. 

Message Edited by Leanne on 05-31-2009 09:21 PM

Thanks for the response but the style has been determined by the University and I have downloaded their specific style and cannot change that!!!

So there is your answer.  You can’t change it, so you can’t change it!

Hi, I also am using multiple citations from the same author in the same year, however my problem is different. Each citation appears identical in the text of my document, i.e. there is no “a” or “b” (it just shows author and year, the very same for each one). At the end of the document the references are as you would expect, with different titles but the very same author and year.

I double checked that author is in fact entered identically for each different reference and that is not the problem. They are both the same format i.e. Report rather than journal article.



Did you check Ambiguous citation options, where you choose “Add a letter after the year” ?

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One thing I forgot to mention is that the reference mid-text (author and year) does not show up as grey background when you click on it.

It is possible to edit the references mid-text as if they are normal word text. Then if I change to"numbered" references, and back again to “author, year” it looks fine, as if I had not edited it before. But still different references appear the same in the text, without “a”, “b”…

I am using EndNote XI.

Thanks for your help,



I’ll try that now, sounds like what I need.



That fixed it, thanks for your help

This appears to work for me:  Author + Year.  However, it didn’t want to work with two libraries, only with one of the library.  So I exported the citations to a traveling library, and then reformatted the word document to pull from the new library.  Unfortunately this is still not sorting properly.  Any suggestions why it would work with one library but not the others?


I suspect that you think the authors are exactly the same, but they aren’t?  Can you copy the references as they appear?  try copying the author names from one record into the other. 

Thanks for the response.

I tried as you suggested and coppied the author names, but this still did not sort based on order of appearance (after year).  I have a group of about five citations with the same author and year that were stored in one library.  This sorts based on order of appearance when I use just this original library, but when I add a second library or export both of these libraries to a single library they stop sorting by order of appearance…if that makes more sense than my original post…