Avoiding Ambiguous References

If you're using citations in author-year format or citation keys, it might not always be clear which reference your citation is referring to. In the Citation Style Editor, you can set how ambiguous references should be resolved. You can find a few different options by clicking File > Citation style properties > Ambiguous references.

Multiple Publications by an Author in the Same Year

The most common case can occur if you cite multiple publications by the same author group in the same year. If you select the option Append a unique letter in your style, Citavi will automatically ensure that ambiguity is avoided. The publications are sorted alphanumerically in the liste of references and a letter is appended to the year, for example: 2013a, 2013b, etc. The letter will also appear in all in-text citations, for example Miller 2013a, Miller 2013b, etc.

Multiple Groups of Authors with Some Ambiguous Authors

Sometimes you may have groups of authors that are ambiguous in an in-text citation. For example, the author Miller might publish a paper with Smith und Doe, and another with Xu and Wang in the same year. The in-text citation (Miller et al. 2013) would provide no information on which author group is being referred to. With the option Add authors or editors until the citation is unique, you avoid this problem.

Some citation styles expect all or multiple authors to only be listed the first time they are cited, for example "(Miller, Smith & Doe 2013)". After that the first author appears with "et al.", for example, "(Miller et al. 2013)". This distinction can only be made if templates with the conditions Reference was cited in a previous in-text citation or Reference was cited in a previous footnote are added to the citation style.

If either (Miller, Xu & Wang 2013) or (Miller, Smith & Doe 2013) is cited again, the shortened citation "(Miller et al. 2013)" is no longer unambiguous. Citavi can only tell that the reference is ambiguous if it can determine the short form of the citation for the first citation as well. For this reason, the templates using a shortened form need the option Also check all citations of this reference type and ruleset for ambiguity based on the output of this template.

To make this option appear in the templates, in the Citation style properties on the Ambiguous references tab, select the Show additional options for each template checkbox.