Corporate authors with jurabib and jox.bst

I've just found the solution to a little LaTeX problem that has been bugging me for a while. To format my bibliography, I'm using the jox.bst (i.e. Oxford) style of the jurabib package. For the most part, this does exactly what I need it to do. But there are a few glitches. The most annoying one is when I have a BibTeX entry with a corporate author, for example War Office. Jurabib treats this as a personal name and so when it comes to alphabetically sorting the bibliography entries, it sorts on 'Office' and not on 'War'. This puts 'War Office' after 'Noel Baker' in the bibliography instead of after 'Turner', which is where it should be. (Yes, this is the sort of trivia you have to worry about when writing a thesis!)

Actually, that's not really the problem, or at least, it's one that all BibTeX styles share. There's a standard solution, though: put the author name in braces in the BibTeX entry: {War Office} instead of War Office. This tells BibTeX not to break the author name, to treat it as a single token. And jurabib does generally understand this -- but not if you use the jox.bst style! If you try to do this with jox.bst, you get an error like this:

! Argument of \jb@lbibitem has an extra }.
<inserted text>
l.1461 \bibitem[{{W}r Office}\jbdy {1922}}
Runaway argument?

While it does eventually compile, it does so by mangling the bibliography, so that's not very useful. It would seem to be a bug in jurabib, or at least jox.bst -- and as of April 2007, jurabib is no longer under development.1 So it's not going to be fixed. Periodically, I've looked for a workaround (as have others), but nothing has worked for me2 -- until now.

The answer: enclose the spaces between the words of the corporate name in braces! So, War{ }Office instead of War Office. That's all there is to it, and it works perfectly. I don't understand why, but I don't much care either! My thanks go to Carsten Ziegert who posted this solution on the jurabib list.

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  1. Its developer suggests biblatex as an alternative, though it seems that it's not yet stable. It does look powerful though; and I see that one historian is already using it. []
  2. Double quotation marks are also supposed to work, but don't. []

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