Resolving author name inconsistency

I have recently started using EndNote X4 (under Windows 7).  With some effort I managed to import my library of references from my old reference manager, but I have encountered the following problem:

Many of the references I have share one or more authors with other references.  Unfortunately, the formatting of their names in my library is inconsistent.  For example, one author might be represented by:

  • Lastname, Firstname M.
  • Lastname, F. M.
  • Lastname, F.M.

This isn’t that big of a deal, except when I cite all three of the papers in a document using APA 6th, EndNote treats all three of those as different authors who need to be disambiguated in the citations.

Now, I’ve seen the advice given here that one should simply manually resolve the inconsistencies in one’s library to avoid this problem.  My hope is that there is a less tedious way to resolve these author name inconsistencies.

I’ve found (and appreciate) that I can delete all but one of these variations from my author term list, and thereafter all the aberrant variations will turn red.  This helps a little, but still requires manual correction of every entry.

I’d appreciate any help.  Thanks. 

Have you thought about exporting your library entries as a text-based tab delimited file (using EndNote’s Tab Delimited style file), then importing the data into Excel where the search-and-replace feature would enable: 1) inserting a blank space after the first name initials (so Lastname F.M. is corrected to: Lastname F. M.), 2) replacing initials with the complete first name (to become: Lastname,  Firstname M.). Once the changes have been completed then import the corrected file back into EndNote.

Thanks, CrazyGecko, that’s an interesting suggestion.  If it comes to that, I’d probably export my library to plain text and then write some kind of perl program to resolve inconsistencies.  I guess if I do so, I’ll post the code here.  I was hoping EndNote would have such a thing built-in.

 EndNote does not at the moment (of version X4) support global search-and-replace.  It would be handy and certainly has been suggested by others on the “Product Suggestion” portion of the forum. Until then finding workarounds will require some out of the box thinking.

Remembering that F. Surname might not be the same author as F. A. Surname, and since computer programs hate to make such assumptions - Endnote treats them as if they are different! 

So one request to the developers might be to bring up records with the same surname, as a “duplicate search” option, that the user could trawl thru. 

You can use the subject listings (tools>list subject bibliography) but that shows all authors and only the first (and possibly the second) author really matter for this issue.  – or you can set your display to show all authors in the library display, so you can see the initials - and then scroll down to look for alpha listings that don’t look the same.  This can help  to find these instances and then curate them manually,

or just  try turning  off the disambiguation settings in the output style. 

but I just deal with them when they arise and only when I actually cite them in my writing. 

Focus on the substance of your writing.  I suppose this opinion is based upon the fact that this old dog  remembers retyping all my references for each version of a  manuscript… In fact I am so old, I remember when cut and paste meant cutting a (handwritten!) sentence anda half out of a piece of paper and taping it into another paragraph I had cut in half - so the typist could retype the whole thing for submission! and G-d forbid the journal not accept it and it would need to be submitted somewhere else!  Ah, those were the days, my friend!