Sorting bibliography by number of authors?

The in-built sort orders for bibliographies include an option to list by First Author + #number of Authors + Year, but my version of EndNote (X4 on a Mac) seems to be ignoring the number of authors and simply ordering by Author name.

The reason why I started investigating this is that I have a user who would like to be able to create a bibliography which is sorted so that single-authored works by an author appear first in the list, sorted in chronological order e.g. Bailey 

1997, Bailey 1998.

These would then be followed by two-author papers first authored by that author, sorted alphabetically by the second author, and then chronologically if there are two, e.g. Bailey and Galanidou 2009, Bailey and Woodward 2007, Bailey and Woodward 2009.

This in fact should work fine simply sorting by Author then Year.

The problem  is with the papers which have three or more  authors. His supervisor has recomended these all to be treated as a single combination of authors, e.g. Bailey et al, in chronological order (regardless of the number of authors or the initial of the second and third authors) yet there doesn’t appear to be a way of grouping all the 3 authors or more together and sorting them chronologically within this.

I’ve experimented with setting et al. for various numbers of authors and that doesn’t appear to affect the sort order.

If the sort by number of authors was obeyed it would at least be a way to segregate the two-author papers from the rest, but I don’t think EndNote does have any way to say “sort 3 or more authors all together”?

Any suggestions gratefully received.

Further experiments have got me a bit further with this. 

I had forgotten that output style is only partially obeyed when exporting references and that I needed to cite into a document in order to test the sort order properly.

It now seems that sorting by first author +number of authors + year + author name will correctly put the single author papers before two author ones and follow the two authors by three and so on.

It also correctly orders by year and author name for the one and two-author papers.

Where it fails (and I can see no way to fix it) is to group all the three-or-more author papers together and sort by date.

Any ideas?

The bibliography sort order [First Author + # of Authors + Year  + Author Name] reveals the problem which affects two of the sorting fields. Using the field “# of Authors” represents the total number of authors within a given reference, however, what is needed is a categorical number that classifies authors by group (for repeated authors). Categorizing the authors will also require adjusting the way two-author references are sorted as opposed to using the “Author Name” in the sort order (i.e., for references where the first author is repeated such as “Bailey” shown in the example). This will call for parsing out the second author to facilitate sorting for a two-author reference of which the first is a repeated author.

Replacing the two sort fields (i.e., # of Authors, Author Name) with two customized fields will enable adjusting the bibliography sort order. The overall process entails: modifying the reference templates, reference field, and bibliography sort order (refer to Image 2 for the result generated in MS Word).

The process entails the following steps (refer to Image1 for steps 1 to 3):

  1. Modify the reference type template by adding two custom fields: 1) one field to categorize the number of authors ( AuthorGrp ); and 2) another field ( 2ndAuthor ) to  which will be used to parse the second author to enable sorting by the second author . (This example uses the Journal Article template.)   

  2. Next, modify only references where there is more than 1 author and the first author is repeated in another reference. (For example, Bailey & Ashford (1992), and Bailey, Smith, Woodward, & Galandiou (1992).

a. In the AuthorGrp field, assign a number corresponding to the number of authors in the reference. For example, for a two-author reference (e.g. Bailey & Ashford), enter the number “2” in the AuthorGrp field.  If the reference contains 3 or more authors (e.g., Bailey, Smith, Woodward, & Galandiou), enter the number “3”.  (Note: Single authored references do not require having a “1” as the sort order of First Author +….+Year will sort the entry.)

b. If the reference has two authors (e.g., Bailey & Ashford) where the first is a repeated author (e.g., Bailey) then enter the second author’s name in the “2ndAuthor” field. (This is to enable sorting by the second author.)

  1. Define the bibliography sort order in the output style’s “Sort Order” dialog box. The sort order is: First Author + Custom 3 + Custom 4 + Year .  (Custom 3 represents “AuthorGrp”; Custom 4 represents “2ndAuthor”.) Exit to save the output style changes which will be saved as a Copy so adjust both EndNote and MS Word to use the output style “Copy” file.

  2. Generate the bibliography in MS Word (see image 2). (Additional references were added to test the output.) The repeated author (Bailey) is shown in three different configurations: a) single author sorted by year; b) two authors sorted by second author then chronologically when first and second author repeats; and 3) three or more authors sorted chronologically.

Many thanks!

As he’s in the sciences I think he’ll probably have quite large numbers of papers with 3 or more authors so the extra effort involved in setting up the extra fields is likely to be worth his while. 

Certainly better than manually editing the final bibliography which was the way he was thinking of going.