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In my bibliography I use the names of the authors as they are given in the publication. Usually this will be the last name, the first name not abbreviated and second names abbreviated. However, I now have the following problems:

  1. For some authors I only have publications with their first name abbreviated.
  2. Some authors have their first name abbreviated in some publications and in others not. This leads to the strange result that I have them in the bibliography with their first name abbreviated only sometimes.

Should I try to get/use the not abbreviated first names for consistency or leave the names as they are given in the publications?

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    @JoelReyesNoche: It is certainly related to, if not a special case of Should I cite author names as they appear in the journal or as I know them to be complete? – O. R. Mapper Dec 29 '15 at 12:59
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    @O.R.Mapper I'm sorry I missed that one. However, the bottom line of the discussion in that post is a non consensus between "respect the authors choice", "be consistent in your own work" and "try to be as complete as possible". So I can decide now what's the best solution for me ;) – user2653422 Dec 29 '15 at 13:11
  • @O.R.Mapper, thanks. It is related, but I don't think it is an exact duplicate. – Joel Reyes Noche Dec 29 '15 at 13:11
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    The busy person solution to retain consistency is abbreviating everything. Figuring out the first name of everyone you cite in your thesis takes a lot of time, for a very limited benefit. – Federico Poloni Dec 29 '15 at 14:34
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    @vonbrand My bibliographies usually contain title, journal, issue, page numbers, author surnames and initials, and often a DOI. I don't think there is any room left for ambiguities. – Federico Poloni Dec 29 '15 at 23:07
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At the end of the day this all boils down to opinion and you already gave the most important argument yourself: Usually, the only way to obtain consistency is to abbreviate all first names. If you try to use unabbreviated names even when the journal doesn’t, you will eventually run into a case where you cannot find out an author’s full first name by any reasonable means.

All journals that I am aware of adhere to such a citation style, so you would be in good company abbreviating first names. Moreover, such a citation style would not arise if it would lead to any practical problems. In fact, knowing an author’s full first name rarely accelerates finding a cited publication, and if then only by a little. I cannot imagine a situation where the first name would actually be necessary to find or identify a properly cited paper – you always have page numbers or similar to resolve potential ambiguities.

  • Thank you for your comment. The only thing which is a bit more difficult when abbreviating first names is to search for the author lets say because you would like to find her/his academic website for further information. However, as the bibliography is not intended to be used in that way in the first place it's not an argument against abbreviation. – user2653422 Dec 30 '15 at 13:12

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