1. Introduction

LaTeX is a powerful typesetting language widely used mostly for academic writing purposes. Furthermore, one of the main features of LaTeX is the possibility of automatically generating citations and bibliographies using various citation styles.

In this tutorial, we’ll introduce the different citation styles available in LaTeX. We’ll show how to use them, their potential advantages, and particular disadvantages.

2. Basic Structure of a Citation

Before we dive into the different citation styles, it’s relevant to understand the basic structure of a citation in LaTeX.

Now, a citation consists of two parts:

  • Citation Key: the citation key is a unique identifier for the source we’re citing
  • Citation Command: the citation command specifies the citation style and its formatting

For example, we can use the command \cite{key} to insert an in-text citation with the key “key”.

LaTeX provides a wide variety of citation styles to select, as we’ll see in the following sections, allowing authors to choose the one that best fits their needs. The best citation style to use will depend on the specific needs of the publication and the author’s personal preferences.

3. Author-Year Citation Style

The author-year citation style, or Harvard style, is popular in the social sciences. Additionally, this style includes the author’s last name and the year of publication in the citation, e.g. (Smith, 2021).

To use this style in LaTeX, we can use the natbib package and the \citet and \citep commands. We can use the\citet command for in-text citations and the command \citep for parenthetical citations.

Here’s an example:

\usepackage{natbib}
 ... 
According to \citet{smith2021},...

The provided example produces the following output: ``According\ to\ Smith\ (2021)..."

3.1. Advantages and Disadvantages

Some advantages and disadvantages of the author-year citation style follow.

Advantages:

  • Provides clear attribution to the source and author
  • Allows for efficient referencing and citation of sources
  • Helps to emphasize the author’s contribution to the field
  • Easy to read and understand

Disadvantages:

  • Limited information about the source is provided in the citation
  • Not suitable for certain types of publications that require more detailed referencing

4. Numeric Citation Style

The numeric citation style is commonly used in the natural sciences and engineering. Moreover, this type of style numbers the sources in the order they appear in the text and includes the corresponding number in the citation, e.g., [1].

To utilize this style in LaTeX, we can use the cite package with the \cite command.

Here’s an example:

\usepackage{cite}
 ...
According to some studies [1],...

The presented example results in the following output: ``According\ to\ some\ studies\ [1]..."

4.1. Advantages and Disadvantages

The particular advantages and disadvantages of the numeric citation style are presented next.

Advantages:

  • Provides a straightforward and easy-to-read system for citation
  • Allows for efficient referencing and citation of sources
  • Helps to emphasize the order of the sources cited
  • Allows for the inclusion of more sources than other citation styles

Disadvantages:

  • Limited information about the source is provided in the citation
  • Can be hard to track sources and distinguish between multiple sources only by their number

5. Author-Title Citation Style

The author-title citation style, known as the Vancouver style, is commonly used in the biomedical sciences. In addition, this style includes the author’s last name and the title of the source in the citation, e.g. (Smith, “Some Title”, 2021).

To use this style in LaTeX, we can use the biblatex package and the \autocite command.

Here’s an example:

\usepackage[style=authortitle]{biblatex}
...
According to \autocite{smith2021},...

The example shown produces the following output: ``According\ to\ Smith,\ Some\ Title\ (2021)..."

5.1. Advantages and Disadvantages

Relevant advantages and disadvantages regarding the author-title citation style follow.

Advantages:

  • Provides clear attribution to the source and author
  • Provides more detailed information about the source than other citation styles
  • Can be used to emphasize the relevance of a source to the reader

Disadvantages:

  • More information provided in the citation can make it harder to read
  • May not be suitable for certain types of publications that require a more concise citation style

6. Footnote Citation Style

The footnote citation style is typically used in the humanities. Furthermore, this style includes the citations as footnotes at the bottom of the page, e.g., ^1.

To employ this style in LaTeX, we can use the footmisc package and the \footnote command.

Here’s an example:

\usepackage[bottom]{footmisc} 
...
According to some scholars\footnote{See Smith, 2021.},...

The provided example generates the following output: ``According\ to\ some\ scholars^1..."

6.1. Advantages and Disadvantages

Next, we show the most prominent advantages and disadvantages of the footnote citation style.

Advantages:

  • Provides additional context and information about the source cited
  • Can be used to provide more information about the author or source
  • Allows for efficient referencing and citation of sources

Disadvantages:

  • Can be distracting or interrupt the flow of the text
  • May not be suitable for certain types of publications, such as those with limited space or character limits

7. Conclusion

In summary, this article provides an overview of the different citation styles available in LaTeX. However, each of these citation styles has its advantages and disadvantages. So, the best citation style to use will depend on our discipline and personal preferences.

Generally, LaTeX’s flexibility and customization options make it easy to switch between citation styles as needed.