Citations "changing" into each other when "adding citation"

I am currently writing a thesis with lots of newspaper citations. As they often are similar (e.g. same author, same paper, different date), I have often copied one citation and edited the copy for another article.
I always edit the citations in paperpile directly, not in google docs.
Now I just noticed to my horror that several citations are wrong, a few had far too many duplicates, and get duplicated in the bibliography list as well(?!) When I tried to correct it by deleting the faulty citation in a specific footnote and adding the correct article with the paperpile addon, I noticed that it changes into the same “paperpile name” (e.g. (Johnson 1922), even if the current article is from 1924, or maybe even Johnson isn’t the author) as the previously displayed “faulty” newspaper article.
Now it seems I managed to fix this by painstakingly writing each “changing” article citation from scratch, first writing no author (so it would get a unique “name”) and then searching my sources and adding them in the right spots again. However at least one of them “changed” even if I had written it completely from scratch again…

I hope I managed to express the problem clearly enough.
What is going on, and (how) can I avoid it happening again?! It is incredibly frustrating when working on a strict deadline to realize that instead of saving time by using paperpile like I was expecting, I’m having to spend more time fixing these strange problems, and still being insecure if all my citations have been corrected…

Hope someone can find out what is going on!
All the best,

It sounds like you didn’t use Paperpile as it was intended to be used, instead copying and pasting and so on.

The only way it works is when you use Paperpile to add each citation (usually from your library, if you want to use it again in another Google doc, or want to be able to reference it again, rather than just in the doc you used it for the first time).

This isn’t an issue or fault with Paperpile. You simply have to use it like it was written to be used: add each citation using the plugin and you’ll be fine.

This is most likely a problem we have seen with copying book chapters which we have been struggling with for a while. When you make copy reference in your library we make a note on it that it is not a duplicate of the source reference (A). However, if you make two copies of A, they may get flagged as duplicates of each other. When you insert a duplicate of an item already cited in your paper, we insert the existing reference instead. This is in an effort to avoid filling the document with duplicates, but can in some cases produce the frustrating behaviour you describe here.

Here are the steps to solving it:

  1. Click the duplicates filter to the right of your list of papers in your library.
  2. Mouse over the affected references and click the “Not a duplicate” link on each of your copies.
  3. In Google Docs remove all affected in-text citations.
  4. Go to Paperpile --> View all references, in the Google Docs menu. Remove all affected references from the page that opens.
  5. Re-insert the citations as normal.

I apologize for the laboriousness of this solution.

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Thanks for replying so quickly!
I’m sorry though, but I can’t help but feel that your reply is condescending Zincbot. It may be that I didn’t express myself clearly enough, but I did write “I always edit the citations in paperpile directly” (i.e. the app/Library). The “copying" I am talking about is clicking the option “copy” in the Paperpile library, then editing the details/metadata of the copied citation (i.e. changing date, URL, author or whatever is needed - all in its correct field). Just so I am crystal clear about this: at no point did I copy/paste text directly in Google docs. I can almost understand how you may jump to the absurd conclusion that I am writing a thesis, decided to pay for Paperpile to simplify the citing process, but didn’t bother to learn the basics about it: I see no reason why Paperpile shouldn’t work when I use it the way I did, and find it very confusing that although I change ALL the metadata in a citation, it somehow still “confuses itself” with another (and cites accordingly in Google docs, making several unwanted duplicates of the same citation, also in the bibliography).
I would be grateful if someone had a real answer or ideas regarding my problem!

All the best,

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Thank you for the reply Jason! I am glad you could grasp my dilemma, that sounds like it could be it (I was beginning to worry I hadn’t managed to express myself at all).
Thank you also for the clear steps to fix it. Although laborious, it still beats writing the metadata for each citation from scratch again.
I still have a couple of questions, if you would be so kind:
I believe I did check for duplicates and pressed the “not a duplicate” button. It seems then that the deletion of the citations in the Docs document was the crucial missing step. Does that mean that each citation in a document always stays “unique”, and wouldn’t change its “default citation name” (i.e. “(Johnson 1912)”) even if I would change all the metadata in the library (including year and author)?

My first instinct is to mostly avoid making duplicates in the library from now on, just to be on the safe side, but are you saying it should work fine IF I mark the new entries as “not a duplicate” before I use them in a document?
In that case, I could continue to avoid a lot of retyping :slight_smile:

It would, of course, be great if it were possible to avoid this problem from cropping up (or at least to avoid/skip the step of deleting and re-adding each problematic citation in the document), but since you are already aware of the problem I’m sure you’re already doing your best to solve it.

Thanks again and all the best,

sorry dude. You are right. I was having a bad day, and I apologize for the rude tone. Hope you got the problem solved.

No problem Zincbot, apology accepted :slight_smile:
I did manage to avoid the problem cropping up again thanks to Jason’s suggestions. I wrote as many Paperpile entries as possible “from scratch” instead of duplicating and changing existing ones. Then I nervously checked if Paperpile had “recognized ” duplicates and marked them “not a duplicate” before adding new references in my thesis. Seemed to do the trick, and I (barely :wink: ) made my deadline :smiley:

All the best,