Problem with author sort order in bibliographies

Hi, I am using Endnote 7.7.1 and the MHRA output style. When I produce an author-title bibliography, I encounter the following problems:

  1. The ‘Sir’ prefix is treated as a forename, even though in Preferences I have specified to ignore ‘Dame’, ‘Lord’, ‘Sir’. The result is that ‘Turner, James’ appears before ‘Turner, Sir Eric’. Is there any way of avoiding this?

  2. Professional indexers say that surnames beginning ‘Mc’ should be sorted as though they are spelled, ‘Mac’. Thus ‘McDonald’ should appear between ‘Macan’ and ‘Macgregor’. However, Endnote sorts literally, ignoring this convention. Similarly the surname ‘St John’ should be sorted as though it were spelled ‘Saint John’. Is there a way to enforce these rules in Endnote?

Thanks for any advice.

It seems that the Preferences “Sorting” feature may not be functioning correctly in your case (and confirmed by my testing) so suggest you notify tech support to report a potential bug:   EndNote also at present cannot address your second issue regarding treating “McDonald” as if it were spelled “MacDonald” to rearrange the resulting bibliography such that McDonald appears in-between in Macan and Macgregor.

If you are submitting your work for publication then the editor/production will make the necessary adjustments. However, there is a workaround you can do in Endnote which addresses omitting “Sir” and the correct placement of “McDonald”. The workaround involves: 1) adding a second “author” field in the reference types (by using a custom field); 2) copying the Author field contents into the second “author” field; 3) changing the contents of the second author field; and 4) changing Endnote’s bibliography sort order to: the custom field, Year, and Title (modified output style file attached). Refer to image #1 (top) for the resulting sample output.


Step 1. Add a custom field to the Endnote reference type templates. For this example, the custom field is named “BibAuthSort” (bibliography author sort).

[Go to the Endnote toolbar and select Preferences, then click “Reference Types”. Click the “Modify Reference Types” button then scroll down the reference type fields until you come to “Custom 8”. Enter “BibAuthSort” (refer to image #1, Step 1). If you wish to have the field added to all of the reference types then click “Apply to All Reference Types”. Otherwise, you can specify the field for selected reference types.]

Step 2. Copy the Author field contents into the BibAuthSort field.

[Go to the Endnote toolbar and select Tools >Change/Move/Copy Fields. Click to select the Move/Copy Fields tab then select Copy Field, from Author to Custom 8, Replace entire field (refer to image #1, Step 2). Click OK.]

Step 3. Edit the BibAuthSort field for the Sir Eric Turner and McDonald records. Delete “Sir” from Sir Eric Turner then save the record. Then change the spelling of McDonald to MacDonald and save the records. (Refer to image #2, Step 3.)

Step 4. Change the bibliography sort order of your output style to: Custom 8 + Year + Title (refer to image #2, Step 4). [Go to the Endnote toolbar and select Edit >Output styles >Edit (name of the output style). In the output style dialog box click the bibliography “Sort Order” and change the setting to: Custom 8 + Year + Title. Exit the dialog box which will save the changes to a new output style file and change the settings in Endnote tab in the MS Word ribbon to use the new output style file.]

A copy of the modified output style file is attached for your reference/use.

MHRA (Author-Date)_jrhodgson.ens (15.1 KB)