I need advice on how to cite sources with the same author or same year when there are too many of them. My citations are Chicago style and I am doing (author, date) format. However, I have about 50 podcasts I analyzed from the same year and I have run out of alphabet letter to use the format (Author, 2020a/2020b etc.)

Does anyone know how to deal with this?

  • What field? ... May 4 at 16:02
  • 2
    My understanding of the Chicago (author-date) style is that for things like news articles and multimedia, it is often sufficient (or preferred) to refer to them in text. For example, section 15.57: Citing recordings and multimedia in author-date format says "in many cases, however, it will be more appropriate to list such materials in running text and group them in a separate section or discography". This will, of course, depend more on the convention in your field.
    – jnanin
    May 4 at 17:40
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    If you cite them as a group ("I analyzed a data set consisting of the podcasts [1, 2, 3...]") instead of individually ("In podcast [1], ... whereas in podcast [2], ..."), one option that I have seen is to have a single combined reference, where you group many individual sources together. So you would write "I analyzed a data set of podcasts [1]", and [1] would be a list of all the podcasts. However, whether this solution is appropriate will depend on the style guide for the journal you are submitting to.
    – Andrew
    May 4 at 18:32
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    @Andrew Yes. In particular since podcasts often tend to be numbered by the authors themselves, this would allow to refer to them by this natural numbering, which would greatly help with readability. Writing something like "comparing episode 19 to episode 23 of [1]", tells me immediately which episodes are compared, while "comparing [19] to [23]" requires me to look up both references, because one of them might be an episode and the other something else entirely.
    – mlk
    May 30 at 9:11
  • @mlk I like that way of looking at it -- essentially the podcast itself is like a book, and the individual episodes are like chapters, so the citation references the podcast itself, not an individual episode. Whether or not that works in practice will depend on the journal's style guide of course.
    – Andrew
    May 30 at 13:17

2 Answers 2


Typically when using letter identifiers the next step after "z" is to begin with double letters. You could go "aa", "ab", "ac", etc, though if you have about 50, I'd probably prefer "aa", "bb", "cc", wrapping to "aaa" if you need (I don't know if Chicago style has a specific solution for this case).

If you're publishing this in a journal, though, your choice of format may not matter too much, as you'll need to defer to the journal's preferred style.


Not an immediate answer to the question but I doubt that you need to put these podcasts into your reference list at all. It depends on what you mean with "analyzed" and the customs in your field.

To me, "analyzed" indicates that the podcasts are your primary research material rather than something that you want to refer to because you reuse or report specific results, ideas, or concepts from another publication. In that case, it may be more appropriate to describe the details of which podcasts you analyse and where you got them from in the text only, maybe also with a dedicated table that lists the titles / publication dates / links for each episode, but not include them in the reference list.

However, what is customary in that respect differs by discipline, so I would recommend to ask your supervisor whether you should put these as citations in your reference list.

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